Michael Flynn, prosecutors ask judge to postpone setting sentencing date

By SPENCER S. HSU | The Washington Post | Published: June 14, 2019

WASHINGTON — U.S. prosecutors and attorneys for Michael Flynn on Friday asked to update a federal judge in mid-August about setting a sentencing date, which would be after President Donald Trump's former national security adviser is expected to testify at the July federal trial in Alexandria, Virginia, of his former business partner.

Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about contacts with then-Ambassador Sergey Kislyak of Russia, becoming one of the first Trump associates to cooperate and the highest-ranking official charged in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

"Based on the current trial date in the EDVA [Eastern District of Virginia] case and estimated length of that trial, the government believes 60 days should provide sufficient time for the defendant to complete his cooperation," U.S. prosecutors Brandon Van Grack and Deborah Curtis and new Flynn attorney Sidney Powell wrote in a filing.

The Flynn filing came a week after he fired his defense team of Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony of Covington & Burling, who notified U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan of Washington of the change. Powell has said Flynn "will continue to cooperate with the government in all matters."

In asking to hold off on a sentencing date, the filing also noted Flynn is in the process of retaining local co-counsel with Powell, who is based in Texas, to go through a "massive amount of information in the case."

"Defense counsel's concerns about the amount of information to review in preparation for sentencing will be addressed again in 60 days, when the defense's cooperation is likely to be complete," both sides wrote.

Also on Friday, Sullivan directed both sides to appear for a hearing before him on June 24 in light of the attorney change.

U.S. prosecutors in Alexandria have said Flynn plans to testify for the Justice Department against his former business partner, Bijan Rafiekian - also known as Bijan Kian - who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of working as an unregistered agent of Turkey.

Flynn "was aware" of Turkish involvement with the work of his firm, Flynn Intel Group, and "is going to go well beyond" the evidence laid out in documents, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Gillis has said at a hearing in Alexandria.

Flynn resigned from his White House post in February 2017 after the White House said he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials about his contacts with Kislyak.

Flynn's guilty plea revealed he falsely told the FBI that he had not discussed sanctions with the ambassador before Trump's inauguration and that he was in touch with senior Trump transition officials before and after his communications.

Because of Flynn's cooperation, Mueller's team delayed his sentencing to December 2018. However, Sullivan postponed sentencing again after lambasting the former three-star general and his attorneys for suggesting the FBI had duped Flynn. "Arguably, you sold your country out," Sullivan told Flynn.

Sullivan suggested he could sentence Flynn to prison despite the recommendation of probation by prosecutors and Flynn's attorneys. Flynn then asked to hold off his sentencing, promising to continue cooperating.

Trump praised Flynn's change of attorneys, tweeting Thursday that Powell is a "GREAT LAWYER."

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