The new attorney representing former national security adviser Michael Flynn told a federal judge Monday that she needs at least 90 days to prepare for his sentencing.
Sidney Powell said in a court appearance in Washington, D.C., that she needs three months to review three hard drives of information from Flynn’s former lawyers, noting that she expects to receive even more information.
Powell said Flynn's case has “more moving pieces" than a "Swiss watch."
Powell also said she believed some of the information was classified, however federal prosecutors noted that the government had not provided any classified documents or records to the defense.
Judge Emmet Sullivan, a Clinton appointee, ordered Flynn’s attorneys and government prosecutors to file their next status report by the end of August.
Monday’s status conference marked Flynn's first appearance in federal court since December, when he abruptly decided to delay his sentencing until the completion of the trial of his former business partner following a firm rebuke from Sullivan over his crime.
Flynn, who briefly served as President Trump's national security adviser, wore a red tie and a dark suit while seated across from Powell and his two other attorneys, Jesse Binnall and William Hodes.
Flynn’s surprise decision to fire his Covington & Burling lawyers and bring on new representation in Powell, a conservative legal commentator and critic of former special counsel Robert Mueller, triggered fresh public attention on his case.
Some have speculated Flynn may be angling for a pardon from Trump, who praised Powell in a tweet after Flynn hired her and wished them both “good luck.”
Powell did much of the talking on Monday, noting Flynn is still anticipated to testify against Bijan Kian, Flynn’s one-time business partner who was indicted on illegal foreign lobbying charges in December and faces a July trial in the Eastern District of Virginia.
“Oh yes, sir. That cooperation is fully ongoing,” Powell said.
Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador a year-and-a-half ago, was a key cooperator in Mueller’s now-completed investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election.
Mueller had recommended Flynn serve between zero and six months in prison, citing his “substantial assistance” in the investigation.
Flynn was supposed to be sentenced last December after he finished cooperating with Mueller’s investigation, however he chose to postpone his sentencing until he finished cooperating in other cases after Sullivan excoriated him for committing a “very serious offense” and suggested he was likely to give him jail time.
Flynn’s sentencing has not yet been scheduled, and Monday’s status conference represents yet another delay in his case.
Sullivan began Monday’s hearing noting that Powell’s 2014 book, “Licensed to Lie,” contained passages about his work and that Powell sent him a signed copy five years ago with a complimentary inscription.
Sullivan said he brought it up in the interest of “transparency” so the public would know that Powell had offered him praise in the past.
“I am embarrassed to say I have not read the entire book,” Sullivan said. “I did read the chapters about me.”
Sullivan denied an appeal from Powell to have Flynn’s travel restrictions eased so he could travel to North Carolina and Texas, where she has law offices, and to California, where some of Flynn’s family lives.
Sullivan said he didn’t want the perception he was treating Flynn preferentially compared to other defendants. But the judge said that if Flynn notified pretrial services of his travel in advance that the court would not impede him.
“I am going to treat him like I am going to treat anyone else,” Sullivan said.
Powell, speaking in a southern accent and clad in a bold white jacket, repeatedly emphasized the volume of information she has to review in connection with Flynn’s case, saying she believed it would be more appropriate to file the next status report in 90 days rather than 60 – despite agreeing to the latter deadline in a joint request with government prosecutors earlier this month.
Powell also said she believed “much” of the information to be classified and would request security clearances so Flynn’s attorneys could view it – a disclosure that seemed to puzzle the government.
Justice Department attorney Brandon Van Grack said Monday that the government had produced just over 20,000 pages of documents to the defense, and that the government had not supplied defense counsel classified information.
“There was no classified discovery provided to the defense,” Van Grack said. “The government is not aware of what information defense counsel is reviewing.”
Sullivan directed Powell to take up any requests she has for clearances to review classified information with the court security officer.
Van Grack noted the government had requested another 60 days before they file the next status report based on the projected end of Kian’s trial in Alexandria, Va.
Kian, who helped Flynn run the now-defunct Flynn Intel Group, has pleaded not guilty to charges of acting as an unregistered agent for the government of Turkey.
Updated at 2:36 p.m.