A federal judge this week rejected retired Lt. Gen. Michael’s Flynn’s bid to have his guilty plea throwing out, saying supposed exonerating government evidence either doesn’t exist or is not relevant.
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan’s ruling was across-the-board dismissive of all of defense attorney Sidney Powell’s court filings. She argued that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team held back documents that would show Department of Justice and FBI misconduct.
“Mr. Flynn has failed to establish a single Brady violation,” the judge said, referring to the Supreme Court case that requires prosecutors to turn over exculpatory material.
Ms. Powell suggested there was a government conspiracy against her client. She wanted the judge to force disclosure of FBI notes and intelligence officials communications with any journalists. The judge denied all her requests.
Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to FBI agents about his phone conversations during the President Trump’s transition with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn had urged Moscow not to overreact to new Obama administration sanctions. But he told FBI agent Peter Strzok he had no such discussions. The FBI owned a transcript of the eavesdropped call, which Flynn knew.
Flynn, former Defense Intelligence Agency chief and briefly Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, was fired for misleading White House officials. He also pleaded guilty to falsifying paperwork to comply with the Justice Department’s Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) requirements. The issue was his lobbying work for client Turkey.
The judge set Jan. 28 as a new sentencing date.
Judge Sullivan’s ruling was a blow to conservative activists who cited Flynn’s treatment as represented of rampant Trump-Russia conspiracy allegations in the liberal news media that never panned out. The Mueller team, after 22 months, failed to establish collusion.
When Flynn pleaded guilty there was much liberal speculation that he would turn on the president. But he provided no evidence of a Russia election conspiracy. The only apparent valuable material he proved the Mueller team was limited to his one-time business partner’s FARA case.
Ms. Powell asserted prosecutors rolled over Flynn by threatening to prosecute his son. She said FBI agents ambushed him at the White House in a scheme that dissuaded him from seeking a lawyer’s advice. She submitted a laundry list of requested material, including information on Joseph Mifsud, the European professor whose comment to a Trump adviser in London resulted in opening the Trump-Russia probe.
Judge Sullivan broke down Ms. Powell’s roughly 50 Brady requests: they either don’t exist or were not held by the government or were information Flynn conceded is off-limits or were material already provided.
For example, Ms. Powell requested all of the captured text messages between agent Strzok and his lover, FBI counsel Lisa Page. They expressed a deep dislike of Mr. Trump and a preference for Hillary Clinton as they investigated Russia election interference.
“To be sure, Mr. Flynn was aware of the circumstances of the January 24, 2017 interview, and the allegations of misconduct against the FBI officials before he entered his guilty pleas,” the judge said.
As a backdrop, on Dec. 9 the Justice Department inspector general released an extensive report on how the FBI acquired a year-long wiretap on Trump associate Carter Page. The report narrated the actions of the same FBI officials who investigated Flynn.
IG Michael Horowitz found that the Crossfire Hurricane team, led by agent Strzok, committed 17 serious fact errors or critical omissions of exculpatory evidence in affidavits submitted to judges to obtain the needed warrants.
Mr. Page was never charged and the Mueller team exonerated him.
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