Fox reporter: Flynn was charged with ‘Martha Stewart Statute’

Fox reporter: Flynn was charged with ‘Martha Stewart Statute’
© Greg Nash

Fox News reporter Catherine Herridge said Friday that the new charge against former national security adviser Michael Flynn involves what's commonly known as "the Martha Stewart Statute," which "simply means Flynn lied to the FBI."

Flynn, who served as President Trump's national security adviser for just three weeks before being fired in February, pleaded guilty Friday morning to lying to FBI agents. The charge makes Flynn the fourth Trump associate charged in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's election interference and any potential collusion with the Trump campaign.

Herridge, Fox News's chief intelligence correspondent, made the remark on "America's Newsroom" with anchor Bill Hemmer. 

"When you look closely at this paperwork, what you see here is that the government is saying there was a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001, mostly people know this as the Martha Stewart Statute," she explained. "It simply means that Flynn lied to the FBI and the FBI had information that was overwhelmingly clear that was in conflict with Flynn’s statements." 

"Based on the timeline in December, it appears at least one of those pieces of evidence is a telephone intercept or an electronic communication that showed contrary to what Flynn told the FBI," Herridge continued. "This is a very important moment in the special counsel investigation." 

While Flynn has only been charged with lying to the FBI, he was thought to potentially face significantly more legal risk, meaning he may have avoided further charges through his cooperation deal with prosecutors.

Martha Stewart served five months of a prison sentence, five months of house arrest and two years of probation afterward for lying to the FBI over insider trading. 

"Flynn will become the most senior person within the Trump administration to reach an agreement with the special counsel over his actions with Russia leading up to the transition in January," she concluded.

Flynn, 58, a former four-Star lieutenant general who served in the Army for 33 years until 2014, is the first person who held a formal office in the Trump administration to be charged in the special counsel investigation.