Michael Flynn’s lawyers argued Wednesday that he should not face jail time for making false statements to the FBI, while also accusing federal prosecutors of trying to suborn perjury from the former national security adviser in a case involving his former business partner, Bijan Rafiekian.
“The government tried to manufacture facts in the Rafiekian case and they thought they could strongarm Mr. Flynn into helping them through perjury,” Flynn’s lawyers wrote in a sentencing memo filed Wednesday.
“Mr. Flynn should receive a sentence, if any, of probation and community service,” they added.
Flynn’s lawyers criticized prosecutors for revising their sentencing recommendation for the retired Army general. In December 2018, prosecutors recommended that Flynn receive only probation, citing his “substantial” cooperation with the special counsel, as well as in an investigation of Rafiekian on charges that he conspired to work as an unregistered agent of Turkey.
Flynn pleaded guilty Dec. 1, 2017, in the special counsel’s probe to making false statements to FBI agents Jan. 24, 2017, regarding his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He pulled out of a sentencing hearing Dec. 18, 2018, after Judge Emmet Sullivan indicated he was prepared to issue a sentence that included jail time.
Flynn changed up his legal strategy in the ensuing months, hiring Sidney Powell, an ardent critic of the special counsel’s investigation. Powell accused prosecutors of withholding exculpatory information from Flynn regarding his interview with the FBI.
After months of contentious legal filings, prosecutors revised their sentencing recommendation for Flynn on Jan. 7, suggesting that he receive up to six months in prison. (RELATED: Flynn Deserves Up To Six Months In Jail, Prosecutors Say)
Powell responded to the government’s recommendation by filing a request Jan. 14 for Flynn to be allowed to withdraw from his plea deal.
The government lawyers asserted that Flynn tried to “thwart” the case against Rafiekian by refusing to testify that he made false statements in paperwork registering as a foreign agent of Turkey.
Flynn, Rafiekian, and Flynn’s firm, Flynn Intel Group, registered with the Justice Department as foreign agents March 7, 2017.
Rafiekian was convicted at his trial, but the judge handling the case overturned the conviction Sept. 24, 2019, on grounds of insufficient evidence.
Flynn’s lawyers said prosecutors’ recommendation of jail time for Flynn was “unjust” and “unlawful.”
“If left unchecked, it will send a dangerous message to cooperators — give testimony consistent with the government’s theory of the case, regardless of veracity, or pay the price with your freedom,” Flynn’s lawyers wrote.
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