Politics

Judge to sentence former Trump aide Michael Flynn in January

Key Points
  • Michael Flynn, who briefly served as President Donald Trump's first national security advisor, will be sentenced Jan. 28 for lying to the FBI.
  • A judge rejected Flynn's requests to compel prosecutors to turn over additional evidence in his criminal case.
  • Flynn has admitted to lying to the FBI about the nature of his discussions with Russia's ambassador to the United States on the heels of Trump's election.
Former White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn leaves the Prettyman Federal Courthouse following a sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court December 18, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Michael Flynn, the Army general who briefly served as President Donald Trump's first national security advisor, will be sentenced on Jan. 28 for lying to the FBI — almost exactly three years after committing that crime — a federal judge said Monday.

The sentencing date was set as Judge Emmet Sullivan rejected Flynn's repeated requests to compel prosecutors to turn over additional evidence in his criminal case, which Flynn had suggested could lead to a dismissal of the charge against him.

Sullivan, in his ruling in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., said Flynn's lawyers "failed to explain" how most of the information that had not already been turned over to them is relevant to the crime he admitted.

And Sullivan said defense lawyers "failed to establish a single" violation by prosecutors of the rule requiring them to disclose to defendants evidence that could help exonerate them.

The judge also wrote that he had "ethical concerns" with a legal brief that Flynn's lawyers submitted as part of his motions for evidence because that brief "lifted verbatim portions from a source without attribution."

Flynn's lead lawyer, Sidney Powell, told CNBC in an email that Sullivan's ruling is "as wrong as it is disappointing."

Flynn pleaded guilty Dec. 1, 2017, to lying to FBI agents on Jan. 24, 2017, about the nature of his discussions with Russia's ambassador to the United States in the weeks before Trump was inaugurated in January of that same year.

Flynn resigned in February 2017 after allegedly misleading Vice President Mike Pence about what he and the Russian diplomat talked about.

Flynn had told Pence he had not discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia, which led Pence to defend him in television interviews. In fact, Flynn had discussed those sanctions.

The retired lieutenant general originally was scheduled to be sentenced in December 2018. But that sentencing was cut short after Sullivan warned him he might send Flynn to jail if he did not postpone the proceeding.

"Arguably you sold your country out," Sullivan said at that hearing.

The delay gave Flynn more time to complete his cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Flynn's lawyer, Powell, whom he hired after his sentencing was delayed, has claimed in court filings that federal prosecutors suppressed evidence that could help prove Flynn was innocent.

She had asked Sullivan to force prosecutors to turn up that evidence.

Sullivan in a ruling Monday denied Powell's requests.

"Mr. Flynn accuses the government of suppressing certain information and alleges improprieties regarding the circumstances leading up to his guilty plea — including allegations of misconduct by the FBI, [Department of Justice], and the Special Counsel's Office — that, in his view, call into question the entire investigation, raise ethical concerns, warrant findings of civil contempt, and demand dismissal," Sullivan wrote.

"Mr. Flynn, however, fails to explain how most of the requested information that the government has not already provided to him is relevant and material to his underlying offense—willfully and knowingly making materially false statements and omissions to the FBI," the judge wrote.

VIDEO0:5100:51
Michael Flynn sentencing postponed