The office of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller just turned over to Judge Emmitt Sullivan any “Brady” material that might be helpful to former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn in defending himself against charges of lying to the FBI to which he pleaded guilty last year.
This could be the key to letting Flynn off the hook.
Judge Sullivan wants to know all about the relationship between Judge Rudy Contreras, who accepted Flynn’s guilty plea, and Peter Strzok, the FBI attorney whose interview with Flynn led to the charges. Contreras’ friendship with Strzok was exposed in text messages sent to and from the FBI agent and his paramour Lisa Page.
Immediately after accepting Flynn’s guilty plea, Contraras rescued himself from the case.
Sullivan also wants to know about the basis for the FISA warrant to surveil Flynn in the first place, which Judge Contraras also signed, largely based on the ill-famed dossier. The special counsel’s office did not tell the court, as it applied for a FISA warrant, that the dossier had been funded by the Hillary campaign and the Democratic Party.
Sullivan, in an unusual move, ordered the Special Counsel to produce any evidence in its possession that is “favorable to defendant and material either to defendant’s guilt or punishment.”
Sullivan’s order is unusual in that it was issued after his predecessor, Contreras, accepted Flynn’s guilty plea and raises the question of whether Flynn will be able to withdraw his plea once he sees the new evidence.
Sullivan also demanded that the Special Counsel turn over all potentially exculpatory evidence to him rather than — as it is usually done — to the defendant, saying he would make the decision as to whether the evidence was “material.”
Sullivan has a history of tossing convictions where exculpatory material was not given to the defendant. In the case of Senator Ted Stevens, R-Alabama, he held the federal prosecutors in contempt for failing to turn over to defense a statement by a key government witness that the witness said would have undercut the government’s case. The ruling came after Stevens was defeated for re-election largely because of his conviction.
And, Mueller has withheld exculpatory evidence in the past. That may have been a factor in raising Judge Sullivan’s suspicions.
During Mueller’s time as Assistant and then as Acting U.S. Attorney in Boston from 1986-1987, his office prosecuted and convicted four men in connection with the 1985 murder of Teddy Deegan. The men were involved with the gang of notorious gangster Willy (Whitey) Bulger. Three of the four were sentenced to death.
However, all were exonerated by the courts in 2001 when it came out that the FBI withheld evidence from the court that would have cleared the men. According to Fox News Contributor Sara Carter, the Bureau “withheld evidence…to protect Vincent “Jimmy” Flemmi, an informant.
So withholding evidence from the court is not a new thing for Robert Mueller.
If the evidence Mueller has had to turn over shows a close enough relationship between Judge Contreras and FBI agent Peter Strzok or finds that the prosecution of Flynn was based on an improper reliance on the dossier in the first place, Flynn will probably seek to withdraw his guilty plea and the case against him is unlikely to survive.
And Mueller may not survive either.
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