Flynn sentencing delayed as he seeks to withdraw guilty plea
A federal judge on Thursday postponed sentencing for former national security adviser Michael Flynn after he moved to withdraw his guilty plea for charges of lying to the FBI.
Judge Emmet Sullivan granted Flynn’s request for the delay as he mulls the former three-star general’s reversal. The judge, a Clinton appointee, pushed Flynn’s sentencing hearing from Jan. 28 to Feb. 27.
Flynn’s lawyers on Tuesday moved to back out of a plea agreement he had made with the special counsel’s office to cooperate with its probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race.
He had pleaded guilty two years ago to lying to federal investigators about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the Trump transition period.
But last year, Flynn became combative with prosecutors after firing his legal team and hiring a conservative firebrand named Sidney Powell to represent him. Powell unsuccessfully accused the prosecutors and investigators of malfeasance by trying to coerce Flynn into pleading guilty.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department revoked an earlier recommendation that Flynn receive a lenient sentence and asked that he get up to 6 months in prison.
Flynn has accused the prosecutors of reneging on the plea agreement and trying to force him to lie in order to secure a conviction against his former business partner, Bijan Rafiekian.
“The prosecution seeks to rewrite history and send Mr. Flynn to prison,” Flynn’s lawyers wrote in their motion on Tuesday.
“Mr. Flynn will not plead guilty,” the filing reads. “Furthermore, he will not accede to the government’s demand that he ‘disavow’ any statements made in his filings since he obtained new, unconflicted counsel. Michael T. Flynn is innocent. Mr. Flynn has cooperated with the government in good faith for two years. He gave the prosecution his full cooperation.”