Michael Flynn Has a Sudden Change of Heart

Wants to withdraw his guilty plea, says Justice Department acted in 'bad faith'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 15, 2020 1:54 AM CST
Ex-Trump Aide Flynn Seeks to Withdraw Guilty Plea
In this Dec. 1, 2017 photo, Michael Flynn, center, arrives at federal court in Washington.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn filed court papers Tuesday to withdraw his guilty plea, saying federal prosecutors had acted in "bad faith" and broken their end of the bargain when they sought prison time for him, the AP reports. The request came one week after the Justice Department changed its position on Flynn's punishment by recommending he serve up to six months behind bars for lying to the FBI during its investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Prosecutors had earlier said Flynn was entitled to avoid prison time because of his extensive cooperation, but their perspective changed after he hired a new team of lawyers. They have raised repeated misconduct allegations against the government—which a judge has since rejected.

In the court document, filed two weeks before Flynn's scheduled sentencing date, defense lawyers said the Justice Department is attempting to “rewrite history" by withdrawing its recommendation that he be sentenced to probation and by suggesting he had not been forthcoming or cooperative. They asked to withdraw the plea because “of the government’s bad faith, vindictiveness, and breach of the plea agreement." Flynn "is innocent. Mr. Flynn has cooperated with the government in good faith for two years. He gave the prosecution his full cooperation," the lawyers wrote. It was not immediately clear how the judge handling the case, Emmet Sullivan, would respond to the motion or whether he would actually permit Flynn to withdraw the plea—an extraordinary step that would presumably enable the government to bring additional charges if merited.

(Read more Michael Flynn stories.)

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