For Michael Flynn, the fight’s not over yet.
The retired Army general who served briefly as President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser returned to court Tuesday for another tussle in his long-running legal battle with federal prosecutors.
Now, according to Fox News, instead of agreeing to a sentencing date, Flynn’s legal team wants the case against him thrown out completely.
Flynn was one of the top targets for former FBI Director James Comey, who has publicly bragged about breaking normal protocol to interview Flynn in the first days of the Trump administration.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace in December 2018, in fact, Comey drew laughs from a New York City audience when he described how he sent FBI agents to the Trump White House in January 2017 knowing full well that the brand-new administration was not yet organized to handle a visit like that.
“We placed a call to Flynn and said, ‘Hey, we’re sending a couple of guys over. Hope you’ll talk to them,’” Comey said. “He said, ‘Sure.’ Nobody else was there and they interviewed him in a conference room at the White House and he lied to them. And that’s what he now pled guilty to.”
It apparently didn’t occur to any member of that laughing, liberal audience that it was a little odd that a Washington veteran like the then-FBI director thought it was proper to use the chaos of a new administration to investigate a top official.
And it apparently didn’t seem odd to any of them that a man who supposedly was guilty of betraying his country might take a call from the FBI with a request for an interview so nonchalantly that he would say “sure” and meet investigators in a conference room without any problems.
Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI during that conversation. It was one of the few tangible legal victories from special counsel Robert Mueller’s expensive investigation into “collusion” between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russia.
On Tuesday, at what was supposed to be a hearing to set a date for Flynn’s long-delayed sentencing, Flynn’s lawyers said their client entered a guilty plea because he was unaware of material in the government’s possession that could have helped his case. They accused prosecutors of “egregious conduct and suppression” of evidence, according to Fox.
Under the law, prosecutors are required to turn over to the defense any evidence — known as “Brady material” — that could establish a defendant’s innocence.
“There is far more at stake here than sentencing,” Flynn’s lead attorney, Sidney Powell, told U.S. District Judge Emmett Sullivan, according to Fox. “There were stunning failures to produce Brady material, going back to July of 2017.”
In February, according to report at the time in The Hill, Sullivan had ordered the Flynn prosecution to turn over “any evidence in its possession that is favorable to defendant and material either to defendant’s guilt or punishment.”
According to Fox, Powell wants access to FBI material related to the case and material regarding Bruce Ohr, the Justice Department official who was prominent in the development of the anti-Trump “Steele dossier.”
Other material Powell referred to in court Tuesday, according to Fox, included an FBI document that she said “exonerates” Flynn of suspicion he was a Russian agent. However, prosecutor Brandon Van Grack argued that Flynn was not convicted of being a Russian agent but of lying to the FBI.
It’s unclear what the next step in Flynn’s case will be or how far his team will push to have it thrown out, but given Comey’s battered reputation these days, anything is possible.
Fox reported that a tentative sentencing date has been set for Dec. 18.
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