Michael Flynn asks judge to spare him from jail time

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Michael Flynn, President Trump’s onetime national security adviser, has asked a federal judge to spare him from prison time and instead sentence him to at most one year probation, according to a new memo from his defense lawyers. 

Flynn is also offering to do 200 hours of community service, according to the memo filed in federal court in D.C. late Tuesday. Flynn’s request comes about one year after he pleaded guilty to one count of lying to FBI agents about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling investigation into Russian interference and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

The filing comes a week after Mueller recommended Flynn serve no jail time for lying to FBI agents about his Russia contacts, citing his “substantial assistance” in the ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Moscow to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.{mosads}

“As the Government has made clear, his cooperation was not grudging or delayed,” Flynn’s attorneys Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony wrote in the sentencing memo. “Rather, it preceded his guilty plea or any threatened indictment and began shortly after he was first contacted for assistance by the Special Counsel’s Office.”

Flynn’s attorneys cited more than 62 hours of interviews that their client has participated in with the special counsel’s office and other investigators over the course of 19 meetings. They also said he has provided “thousands” of documents to the Justice Department as a result of his cooperation. 

“General Flynn provided timely and substantial assistance to law enforcement,” Flynn’s lawyers wrote. 

In a bombshell filing last week, Mueller recommended that Flynn be spared jail time, citing his considerable assistance in the Russia investigation as well as at least two other matters under investigation by the Justice Department. The memo, which was highly redacted, did not offer details on the other investigations in which Flynn’s cooperation has proven fruitful. 

Federal sentencing guidelines call for Flynn to serve up to six months in prison and face as much as a $9,500 fine. Flynn, a former Trump campaign surrogate, pleaded guilty one year ago to misleading investigators about his contacts with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition and agreed to cooperate in Mueller’s probe.

The defense memo filed Tuesday also makes reference to Flynn’s initial interview with FBI agents in the counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference, noting that he was interviewed by then-FBI agent Peter Strzok, who has since attracted scrutiny from Republicans as a result of text messages critical of Trump he sent to a colleague prior to the 2016 election. Strzok has since been fired by the FBI. 

“Even when circumstances later came to light that prompted extensive public debate about the investigation of General Flynn, including revelations that certain FBI officials involved in the January 24 interview of General Flynn were themselves being investigated for misconduct, General Flynn did not back away from accepting responsibility for his actions,” the memo states. 

Flynn, who served in a high-profile role on the Trump campaign before becoming national security adviser for a brief period, has long been seen as a valuable witness as Mueller probes potential coordination between the campaign and Moscow. Flynn was forced to resign in February 2017 after it was revealed that he misled Vice President Pence about his conversations with Kislyak regarding sanctions on Moscow. 

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan will sentence Flynn on Dec. 18 in federal court in Washington, D.C.

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