Michael Flynn’s Lawyer Says Going After Prosecutors Is Primary Goal, Not Withdrawing Guilty Plea

Sidney Powell, a lawyer for former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, appears to be making good on speculation that she’d deliver “a more combative, anti-Mueller approach” in Flynn’s federal case.

Flynn’s sentencing had been expected in December 2018, but was delayed until after Flynn testified in an unrelated case. On Tuesday, Powell and her client reported to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan’s courtroom for a status conference on the sentencing issue.

You’ll remember Judge Sullivan as having blasted Flynn in court, saying, “Arguably, you sold your country out,” and asking prosecutors whether Flynn might have been prosecuted for treason. The judge apologized for the remarks.

It’s been an interesting few days for Flynn. Friday, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) sent a 5-page letter commanding Flynn to comply with a subpoena by appearing before the Committee on Sept. 25.

Predating that demand by just a few days, Flynn’s defense team filed a motion which argued that his prosecution team had engaged in “malevolent conduct” by withholding exculpatory evidence.

Judge Sullivan obviously heard Flynn’s concerns about that exculpatory evidence, but wasn’t commenting on their impact on sentencing just yet. He did, however, remind everyone that plea deal or not, the government is obliged to turn over anything exculpatory.

Powell, though, kept hammering back on the issue of withheld evidence.

The exchange culminated with Judge Sullivan’s cutting to the chase. He asked where where exactly Powell was headed with her argument. Powell wouldn’t or couldn’t give the judge an exact roadmap. While Powell said that it was her intent to show that the whole case should be dismissed due to prosecutors’ “egregious” misconduct, she didn’t completely rule out a motion to withdraw Flynn’s guilty plea. To be clear, Powell said “I don’t think [where this is going is] a motion to withdraw the plea,” she didn’t say “no, that will never happen.”

Powell, who is a frequent media contributor and author of “Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice,” has already mentioned a possible need for her own security clearance – a move that some surmised had been made to angle for a presidential pardon.

For its part, the government was a little shady in its responses. As expected, prosecutors denied any wrongdoing or improper withholding of evidence; but when Judge Sullivan asked whether the government stands by its earlier sentencing representations, prosecutor Brandon Van Grack said the government would refile something when it’s appropriate. That’s a far cry from the simpler answer, “yes, we stand by what we said.” The difference did not go unnoticed by those in the courtroom.

All of that being said, a sentencing date was tentatively set for Dec. 18. Flynn’s sentencing has been pushed back on several occasions, so stay tuned. In the meantime, prosecutors will have two weeks to respond to Flynn’s motion about withholding evidence, and Flynn will have the chance to respond to that response. There may still be oral arguments, and the sentencing date may be pushed farther ahead if the need arises.

[Image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

Elura is a columnist and trial analyst for Law & Crime. Elura is also a former civil prosecutor for NYC's Administration for Children's Services, the CEO of Lawyer Up, and the author of How To Talk To Your Lawyer and the Legalese-to-English series. She is a frequent media contributor, and is Of Counsel to Smedley & Lis, in Woodbury, New Jersey. Follow Elura on Twitter @elurananos

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