Alan Dershowitz called out critics from both sides of the Michael Flynn/FBI dispute, regarding whether or not investigators were fair in their handling of the former National Security Adviser before he ultimately lied to them. Flynn claimed in a recent court filing seeking a light sentence that the nature of the conversation he had with the FBI on January 24, 2017 was not made clear to him at the time, and he did not have counsel present when he faced questions about past communications with the Russian ambassador. Dershowitz, Harvard Law Professor Emeritus, noted that people should not use this to claim that Flynn is innocent, but it should raise concerns about how the feds conduct business.
Dershowitz pointed out in a piece for The Hill that the FBI already had the goods on Flynn and knew the truth about his Russia contacts. This being the case, they weren’t questioning Flynn to actually learn anything for their investigation, he said, but “to give him the opportunity to lie under oath so that they could squeeze him to provide incriminating information against their real target, President Trump.”
Dershowitz conflated this with criticism of Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation. Even though Mueller took over the Russia probe months after Flynn lied to the FBI, Dershowitz likened the Flynn case to Mueller’s prosecution of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Judge T.S. Ellis famously blasted Mueller for using Manafort as a pawn against the president.
“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud,” Judge Ellis said. “What you really care about is what information Mr. Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment.”
Of course, just like prosecuting Flynn was proper because he still committed a crime, Judge Ellis let Mueller’s case go forward, resulting in a Manafort conviction.
To Dershowitz, the famed defense attorney, it doesn’t matter that people may be guilty of crimes if investigators are not acting properly.
“The proper function of law enforcement is to uncover past crimes, not to provide citizens the opportunity to commit new crimes by testing their veracity,” he said.
“Even noble ends do not justify ignoble means.”