Federal prosecutors have accused President Donald Trump‘s former national security advisor Michael Flynn of making frivolous document production requests that are not actually related to his defense at all but are instead an attempt to fuel outrage by spreading conspiracy theories about the Russiagate investigation. And one of those theories was allegedly suggested by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).
In a 41-page motion filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Jesse K. Liu and her top lieutenants Brandon Van Granck and Jocelyn Ballantine argued that Flynn’s recent request for potentially exculpatory evidence known as Brady material is a sideshow with no genuine legal bearing on his case–which is currently in a very slow-drip sentencing phase.
“The defendant predicates much of his request on conspiracy theories, demanding that the government engage in a fishing expedition for documents that could offer support for those theories,” the filing alleges. “Irrespective of whether such documents exist, a fact that the government does not concede here, the defendant fails to establish that such information is relevant—let alone favorable and material—in this criminal case.”
As Law&Crime previously reported, Flynn is currently alleging that federal prosecutors are violating the Bill of Rights by illegally hiding information that could prove his innocence. Such information is named after the landmark Supreme Court decision in Brady v. Maryland. The Brady Rule requires the government to provide criminal defendants with exculpatory evidence favorable to them.
But, the government notes, Flynn has already submitted a guilty plea–in December 2017–and has expressed no desire to change his plea wherein he admitted to lying to federal agents. Rather, Liu and her team contend, Flynn’s legal strategy has been to gin up controversy that might result in higher-ups at the Department of Justice (DOJ) viewing his case with enough sympathy so that they eventually quash the entire prosecution.
The filing continues:
[T]he defendant’s filings—although captioned as a motion to compel production of Brady material—are in fact an effort by the defendant to have his case dismissed. Since the beginning of their involvement, the defendant’s new counsel have sought to get the charges dropped, professed their client’s actual innocence, and perpetuated conspiracy theories, all while stating that the defendant does not intend to withdraw his guilty plea. Certainly, true and credible Brady violations in a case could justify sanctions and other remedies, to include dismissal. In this case, however, nothing could be further from the truth.
In service of this argument, prosecutors submitted several pieces of documentary evidence as appendices which purport to show the Flynn defense’s alleged back-pocket double-dealing on full display.
One such piece of material is a letter from Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell to Attorney General Bill Barr requesting the government drop their prosecution of his client.
“This letter is a preliminary outreach,” Powell says, “primarily to provide you with an outline and notice of likely exculpatory information we ask you to watch for as you and your appointed investigators…are re-examining the possible corruption of our beloved government institutions for what appears to be political purposes and to suggest a just resolution if the evidence shows what we believe to be true.”
Another piece of interesting information is from GOP operative Barbara Ledeen to Flynn’s lawyers instructing them to obtain information from Robert Mueller‘s investigation–not because it will actually help Flynn; but because Rep. Nunes allegedly thought it was damaging and could be promoted on Fox News.
That email reads in its entirety:
Judge needs to ask for Comey and Strzok transcripts. I would hope the Judge would ask for Comey and Strzok transcripts from [the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] to show they thought he did not lie. Nunes says judge probably won’t but he wanted to get it out there on Fox tonight.
While Flynn’s previous lawyers were careful not to respond to Ledeen’s request, the government argues that his current legal team is employing the exact strategy suggested by that ask: airing the idea that Flynn is innocent and was simply railroaded by anti-Trump forces in the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“The defendant’s motion is not a search for Brady material,” the filing concludes. “It is a fishing expedition in hopes of advancing conspiracy theories related to the U.S. government’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The government has already provided any evidence that could reasonably be construed as favorable and material for the defendant at sentencing. Accordingly, the motion should be denied.”
[image via SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images]