Michael Flynn To Withdraw Guilty Plea In Russia Probe
Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn decided on Tuesday night to withdraw his guilty plea on charges of perjury while being investigated in the Russian probe.
Prosecutors asked a judge to sentence Flynn with prison time after he decided to refuse the original deal, to which he accusing prosecutors of “bad faith” and vindictiveness.
Two years after pleading guilty, Flynn is now going to take his chances at trial if the court agrees to grant his motion. This leaves the retired Army lieutenant general and former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency vulnerable to additional charges being brought against him by prosecutors.
As part of his deal with the government, Flynn pleaded guilty twice to lying to the F.B.I. about alleged conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States in late 2016 and additionally admitted to violating foreign lobbying laws by not disclosing work he had done for Turkey. In return, the government suggested leniency in his sentencing.
Flynn additionally agreed to delay his sentencing to further cooperate by testifying in a case in Northern Virginia. In recent months, Flynn hired new lawyers to represent him, signaling he might have been growing impatient. The new lawyers argued that Flynn was pressured into the deal by biased investigators, but the judge rejected those claims this month, saying they were groundless.
Flynn was dismissed from his role in the Trump administration for lying to Vice President Mike Pence and other senior administration officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. However, Donald Trump has claimed investigators have treated Flynn poorly. This raises questions as to whether or not Flynn originally took the deal expecting to be pardoned by the president.
Prosecutors, in their memo suggesting a stiffer sentence for Flynn after he announced he would be withdrawing his guilty plea, said, “The defendant monetized his power and influence over our government, and lied to mask it.”