Accusing Feds of “Vindictiveness,” Michael Flynn Retracts Guilty Plea
In a move that has been a long time coming, former national security adviser Michael Flynn filed Tuesday a motion to retract his guilty plea, telling the court that the Justice Department was guilty of acting in “bad faith” with respect to his prosecution.
Flynn, who plead guilty to lying to the FBI during the Trump/Russia investigation, moved to reverse his plea only days after the DOJ increased their recommendation for Flynn’s sentencing, asking the court to put him in jail for up to six months.
In the filing with the court, Flynn’s lawyers said that the plea change comes about as a result “of the government’s bad faith, vindictiveness, and breach of the plea agreement.”
“The prosecution has shown abject bad faith in pure retaliation against Mr. Flynn since he retained new counsel,” the filing reads. “This can only be because with new, unconflicted counsel, Mr. Flynn refused to lie for the prosecution. Justice is not a game, and there should be no room for such gamesmanship in the Department of Justice.”
The Flynn team argues that the Justice Department is only recommending prison time over probation because Flynn will no longer cooperate with the government’s narrative.
“Michael T. Flynn is innocent,” his lawyers argued. “Mr. Flynn has cooperated with the government in good faith for two years. He gave the prosecution his full cooperation.”
Flynn’s original indictment came about after an interview in which he allegedly lied to the FBI in 2017 about his conversations with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. While FBI officials, including Director James Comey, have subsequently testified to Congress that they felt Flynn was being truthful in that interview, he nonetheless plead guilty to avoid maximum prosecution. In filings with the court last month, Flynn argued that he was pressured into making that plea by federal officials. The judge in his case rejected that argument.
Last September, Flynn’s lawyers argued that the prosecution “affirmatively suppressed evidence (hiding Brady material) that destroyed the credibility of their primary witness, impugned their entire case against M. Flynn, while at the same time at the same time putting excruciating pressure on him to enter his guilty plea and manipulating or controlling the press to their advance to extort that plea.”
Flynn also argued last year that the interview itself was an ambush meant to entrap him.
“When the Director of the FBI, and a group of his close associates, plot to set up an innocent man and create a crime — while taking affirmative steps to ensnare him by refusing to follow procedures designed to prevent such inadvertent missteps — this amounts to conduct so shocking to the conscience and so inimical to our system of justice that it requires the dismissal of the charges for outrageous government conduct,” his lawyers argued.
District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan will have to sign off on Flynn’s plea request for it to go through.