Days before he is scheduled to be sentenced, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is seeking to withdrew his guilty plea.
“Michael T. Flynn (“Mr. Flynn”) hereby moves to withdraw his plea because of the government’s bad faith, vindictiveness, and breach of the plea agreement,” Flynn’s lawyers said in a court document filed Tuesday.
Flynn originally pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts. As part of the plea, he cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller.
In December 2018, he appeared on track for a light sentence until he filed a sentencing memo downplaying his guilt that clearly perturbed the judge in the case, prompting his original lawyers to seek a delay in sentencing.
Since then, he hired a new set of attorneys, led by a prominent Mueller critic, who took an increasingly hostile posture towards the Justice Department that has now culminated in Tuesday’s request to withdraw his guilty plea.
While much of Tuesday’s filing focuses on a previously-known disagreement between Flynn and prosecutors about the nature of his lobbying for Turkey, the court document includes plenty of fire and scorn towards the Justice Department at large that echoed President Trump’s own DOJ bashing.
“It is beyond ironic and completely outrageous that the prosecutors have persecuted Mr. Flynn, virtually bankrupted him, and put his entire family through unimaginable stress for three years,” the plea withdrawal request said.
It repeatedly called out by name a prosecutor who served on Mueller’s team who went on to lead the prosecution of Flynn’s former business partner Bijan Rafiekian.
“The prosecution has shown abject bad faith in pure retaliation against Mr. Flynn since he retained new counsel,” the filing said.
The filing also alluded to claims that the 2016 Russia probe was bogus and corrupt from the start.
“[Flynn] endured massive, unnecessary, and frankly counterproductive demands on his time, his family, his scarce resources, and his life,” the filing said. “The same cannot be said for the prosecution which has operated in bad faith from the inception of the ‘investigation’ and continues relentlessly through this specious prosecution.”
Specifically, Tuesday’s filing alleged that the prosecutors had tried to force Flynn to lie on the stand at the summer trial of his former business associate. Those allegations had previously come to the surface when prosecutors reversed their plans to call Flynn to testify at the trial.
It came up again in the sentencing memo prosecutors filed earlier this month, in which they provided evidence that suggested Flynn was changing his story on his unregistered lobbying for Turkey, the conduct he was expected to testify about at the trial.
“Not only was that demanded testimony a lie, but also, the prosecutors knew it was false, and would induce a breach [in Flynn’s plea deal],” Flynn’s lawyers claimed in Tuesday’s filing, while denying that Flynn had changed the testimony he planned to provide for the trial.
“The only thing that changed in Mr. Flynn’s case was the appearance of new, unconflicted counsel on Mr. Flynn’s behalf, and Mr. Flynn’s refusal to lie for the prosecution of Rafiekian with the representation, protection, and advocacy of his new defense team,” Flynn’s lawyers claimed.
With Flynn’s request to withdraw, he is also asking for his sentencing hearing — which is scheduled for next Tuesday — to be delayed for at least a month. Flynn claimed the postponement would allow the government to respond to these latest claims and that his lawyers needed more time to process the “significant developments and new information that has been disclosed in the last thirty days.”
The filing also previewed that there “were many alternate reasons” that Flynn should be allowed to withdraw his plea that his lawyers “will present in a supplemental filing.”
“We are a small team working on a shoe-string budget funded by thousands of hard-working patriots across the country who are making non-tax-deductible contributions primarily in amounts from $1 to $100 to www.MikeFlynnDefenseFund.com,” the filing said in a footnote.
Read the filing below: