WE WANT JUSTICE FOR MICHAEL FLYNN!
Listen folks, if they can do this to Michael Flynn, a decorated war hero and proud member of our armed forces, they can do it to anyone!
It’s about time Michael Flynn started fighting back.
And I am so glad he finally got a bulldog lawyer and ditched his old attorneys.
They did him no favors!
But new attorney Sidney Powell is a pure bulldog and she is hitting them with everything she’s got!
Take a look:
Sara Carter reports:
Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn filed a supplemental motion to withdraw his guilty plea Wednesday citing failure by his previous counsel to advise him of the firm’s ‘conflict of interest in his case’ regarding the Foreign Agents Registration Act form it filed on his behalf, and by doing so “betrayed Mr. Flynn,” stated Sidney Powell, in a defense motion to the court.
Flynn’s case is now in its final phase and his sentencing date, which was scheduled for Jan. 28, in a D.C. federal court before Judge Emmet Sullivan was changed to Feb. 27. The change came after Powell filed the motion to withdraw his plea just days after the prosecutors made a major reversal asking for up to six months jail time. The best case scenario for Flynn, is that Judge Sullivan allows him to withdraw his guilty plea, the sentencing date is thrown-out and then his case would more than likely would head to trial.
Powell alleged in a motion in December, 2019 that Flynn was strong-armed by the prosecution into pleading guilty to one count of lying to FBI investigators regarding his conversation with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Others, close to Flynn, have corroborated the accounts suggesting prosecutors threatened to drag Flynn’s son into the investigation, who also worked with his father at Flynn Intel Group, a security company established by Flynn.
I am innocent of this crime, and I request to withdraw my guilty plea. After I signed the plea, the attorneys returned to the room and confirmed that the [special counsel’s office] would no longer be pursuing my son, FLYNN
In the recent motion Flynn denounced his admission of guilt in a declaration, “I am innocent of this crime, and I request to withdraw my guilty plea. After I signed the plea, the attorneys returned to the room and confirmed that the [special counsel’s office] would no longer be pursuing my son.”
He denied that he lied to the FBI during the White House meeting with then FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka. The meeting was set up by now fired FBI Director James Comey and then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was also fired for lying to Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigators. Strzok was fired by the FBI for his actions during the Russia investigation.
Flynn stated: “When FBI agents came to the White House on January 24, 2017, I did not lie to them. I believed I was honest with them to the best of my recollection at the time. I still don’t remember if I discussed sanctions on a phone call with Ambassador Kislyak nor do I remember if we discussed the details of a UN vote on Israel.”
Covington betrayed Mr. Flynn, Sidney Powell Said In Motion
Powell Targets Flynn’s Former Legal Team
Powell noted in Wednesday’s motion that Flynn’s former defense team at Covington & Burling, a well known Washington D.C. law firm, failed to inform Flynn that their lawyers had made “some initial errors or statements that were misunderstood in the FARA registration process and filings.” She also reaffirmed her position in the motion that government prosecutors are continuing to withhold exculpatory information that would benefit Flynn.
A spokesperson with Flynn’s former law firm Covington & Burling, stated in an email to SaraACarter.com that “Under the bar rules, we are limited in our ability to respond publicly even to allegations of this nature, absent the client’s consent or a court order.”
In Powell’s motion, she stated that Covington and Burling was well aware that it had a ‘conflict of interest’ in representing Flynn after November 1, 2017. She stated in the motion it was on that day, when Special Counsel prosecutors had notified Covington that “it recognized Covington’s conflict of interest from the FARA registration.” Moreover, the government had asked Covington lawyers to discuss the discrepancy and conflict with Flynn, Powell stated in the motion.
“Mr. Flynn’s former counsel at Covington made some initial errors or statements that were misunderstood in the FARA registration process and filings, which the SCO amplified, thereby creating an ‘underlying work’ conflict of interest between the firm and its client,” stated Powell in the motion.
And from Politico:
The new legal team for former national security adviser Michael Flynn unleashed a withering assault Wednesday on Flynn’s old lawyers, accusing them of a conflict of interest so severe that it merits allowing the ex-Trump aide to withdraw the guilty plea he entered more than two years ago.
Flynn’s current squad of attorneys contend that Flynn’s original legal counsel with the prominent Washington law firm Covington & Burling was too enmeshed in the early stages of Flynn’s legal troubles to give him detached advice about what to do once prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office began threatening to prosecute the retired Army lieutenant general.
Flynn’s new lawyers also contend that the old ones failed to capitalize on damaging disclosures about the probe that ensnared Flynn, such as the texts an FBI agent who conducted a key interview of Flynn sent disparaging Donald Trump when he was a candidate during the 2016 election.
“Mr. Flynn’s guilty plea (and later failure to withdraw it) was the result of the ineffective assistance of counsel provided by his former lawyers, who were in the grip of intractable conflicts of interest, and severely prejudiced him,” Flynn’s current lead counsel, Sidney Powell, and her colleagues wrote in the 49-page motion filed on Wednesday afternoon. “That pernicious conflict infected and prejudiced his defense until he retained new counsel in 2019.”
Flynn’s previous attorneys, Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony, referred questions about the accusations to a firm spokesman, who said legal ethics rules precluded them from responding at this time
“Under the bar rules, we are limited in our ability to respond publicly even to allegations of this nature, absent the client’s consent or a court order,” the spokesman said.
Flynn also submitted a formal, written statement to the court on Wednesday proclaiming his innocence and seeking to explain why he pleaded guilty to a crime he now says he didn’t commit.
“I am innocent of this crime and I wish to withdraw my plea,” Flynn wrote inhis new declaration. “In truth, I never lied.”
Flynn insisted he never deliberately said anything untrue to the FBI in the key January 2017 interview, in which agents contend he denied discussing the issue of sanctions with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition.
Here is page 1 of the new court filing:
Here's a key part where they allege Flynn was framed and set-up:
The Federalist has much more in a deep dive:
Yesterday, Michael Flynn’s legal team, led by powerhouse attorney Sidney Powell, filed a “Supplemental Motion to Withdraw Plea of Guilty” on behalf of the retired lieutenant general. Between the motion and the accompanying exhibits, which together exceeded 200 pages, Powell exposed several more troubling details about the prosecution of Flynn, involving both the special counsel team and Flynn’s previous attorneys.
Flynn had pled guilty on December 1, 2017, to one count of making a false statement to FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka when the duo questioned Flynn on January 24, 2017 about telephone conversations he had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. At the time Flynn entered his plea, he was represented by Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony of the well-respected Washington firm of Covington and Burling, LLP.
Kelner and Anthony continued to represent Flynn until he fired them in June 2019 and replaced them with Powell. Powell sought a delay in Flynn’s sentencing, which had already been postponed from December 2018. She then sought to compel the federal prosecutors to produce previously withheld evidence, including a copy of the transcript and audio of the January 24, 2017, telephone call.
In mid-December 2019, presiding Judge Emmet Sullivan denied Powell’s motion to compel and set Flynn’s sentencing for January 28, 2020. Sullivan also directed the government to submit an updated sentencing memorandum, which it did. In its updated sentencing memorandum, the prosecutor backtracked on its previous position that Flynn had provided substantial assistance to the government and then government attorneys withdrew a previously filed motion for a reduction in sentence.
That was a problem, though, because the government had pledged in the plea agreement to file a motion for a substantial assistance, leading Powell to file on Flynn’s behalf a motion to withdraw his guilty plea based on the government’s breach of the plea agreement. In that motion, Powell noted there were additional grounds for a plea withdrawal, which she would present in a forthcoming motion.
Adding to Reasons for Withdrawing His Plea
Judge Sullivan provided Powell a Wednesday noon deadline to present any additional arguments. While Powell missed the deadline by 50 minutes due to computer problems, she sought leave to file the late motion yesterday. While Flynn’s original motion to withdraw rested on the government’s breach of the plea agreement, Flynn’s supplemental motion to withdraw his guilty plea relied on Flynn’s claim that his Covington lawyers provided ineffective assistance of counsel.
Flynn’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel proves important, legally, because a court need not allow a defendant to withdraw a guilty plea. Rather, under federal law, a defendant may withdraw a guilty plea before sentencing only “if the defendant can show a fair and just reason for requesting the withdrawal.”
In determining whether a “fair and just reason” exists, courts consider three factors: “(1) whether the defendant has asserted a viable claim of innocence; (2) whether the delay between the guilty plea and the motion to withdraw has substantially prejudiced the government’s ability to prosecute the case; and (3) whether the guilty plea was somehow tainted.”
Powell’s brief walked through these three factors, stressing first that Flynn is innocent of the charge that he lied to the FBI. Powell’s analysis of this factor followed her opening plea to Judge Sullivan to recall that “more than a year ago, at the December 18, 2018, Sentencing Hearing, this Court declared that it could not ‘recall any incident in which the Court has ever accepted a plea of guilty from someone who maintained that he was not guilty,’ and that it did not ‘intend to start’ that day.”
Next, Powell argued that there is no prejudice to the government’s ability to prosecute the case. No witnesses have died, no evidence has been lost, and the prosecution remains equally able to make out its case—if it had one—now as at the time Flynn entered his guilty plea.
Finally, Powell addressed the heart of the issue: the third factor and whether Flynn’s plea was somehow tainted. It was, Powell posited, because of the ineffective assistance of counsel Flynn received both at his December 2017 plea hearing and again when Sullivan quizzed him about his guilt at the December 2018 sentencing hearing.
After setting out the governing legal standard for ineffective assistance of counsel—that “counsel’s advice was not ‘within the range of competence demanded of attorneys in criminal cases,’ and that as a result he was prejudiced, i.e. ‘there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s errors, he would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial’”—Powell dedicates the remaining 30-plus pages of her brief to proving Flynn’s Covington lawyers provided ineffective assistance to Flynn.
Did Michael Flynn Receive Ineffective Counsel?
In arguing that Flynn’s prior attorneys provided ineffective assistance of counsel, Powell first hammers the conflicts of interest facing the Covington lawyers. Here, Powell stresses a mistake she alleges Kelner made in handling the legal work for Flynn’s Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) filings: Kelner inaccurately informed the government that Flynn had initiated an op-ed concerning Turkey, when Flynn had in fact made clear that his business partner, Bijan Rafiekian, had drafted the op-ed.
Powell then notes that internal communications showed the Covington lawyers were discussing “among themselves their own potential civil and criminal FARA liability,” and the “substantial ‘headline risks.’” Simultaneously, it seems from the briefing, the Covington team was looking to market itself and its FARA services following resolution of the Flynn case.
These conflicts, Powell argued, could not be waived. But even if Flynn could have waived Covington’s conflicts of interest, Flynn did not provide an informed consent to allow Covington to continue to represent him, Powell posited.
Here, Powell highlighted some troubling facts. Although Flynn’s Covington lawyer first received a call from special counsel prosecutor Brandon Van Grack on October 31, 2017, demanding a meeting with Flynn’s lawyers, it was not until November 19, 2017, when Covington sent Flynn a written request for him to consent to their representation notwithstanding a “potential” conflict of interest.
Special Counsel Threatens Flynn’s Lawyers
But before then, on November 1, 2017, during a meeting with Covington lawyers, the special counsel highlighted what it saw as Flynn criminal exposure for “(1) FARA (failure to register); (2) FARA false statements; and (3) false statements to government officials.” Van Grack also informed the Covington lawyers of the special counsel’s possible interest in their own testimony.
That letter claimed Covington had already discussed the conflict with Flynn, but the only other time it was raised, according to Flynn, was a passing reference.
“There’s one more issue I want to bring up,” Van Grack said. “Because Covington prepared the FARA registration, that would make you [Kelner] a fact witness.” “If we were to get to that point, we would litigate it very aggressively.” Kelner retorted, “We saw what you guys did with [Paul] Manafort, and we’ll definitely raise it with our client.”
However, according to Flynn’s motion, Kelner did not raise the conflict of interest at that time. Then, after several back-and-forths with the special counsel’s office, Covington arranged for their client to sit down and talk with Robert Mueller’s prosecutors on November 16, 2017. That morning, government lawyer Van Grack called Anthony “to discuss whether they had talked with Mr. Flynn about the conflict.”
In summarizing the call for Kelner, the partner noted there was “Nothing to worry about. They wanted to ask what they’d previously asked: have we considered and disclosed to the client (a) [Kelner]’s potentially being a fact witness and (b) Covington’s own interest with respect to its prior advice to [Flynn] regarding FARA—and that the client is OK proceeding with us? Answer: yes.”
Flynn answered questions for the government for the next two days and then, the afternoon before he was to sit down for the third day of questioning, Covington emailed the request for Flynn’s “informed consent” on its conflict of interest. That letter included the CYA claim that Covington had already discussed the conflict with Flynn, but the only other time it was raised, according to Flynn, was a passing reference to a conflict when his business partner was indicted.
This Was Not Informed Consent
While Flynn responded to Covington’s request for “informed consent” that he was very confident in the team and trusted them, in the motion to withdraw his plea, Powell stresses that the request came too late and was ineffective to inform Flynn of the extent of the conflict. And “absent the actual secret self-interest of Mr. Flynn’s conflicted former counsel: (i) he would have terminated Covington in August 2017; (ii) he would not have gone into the proffer; (iii) he would not have pled guilty in 2017; and, (iv) he would have withdrawn his plea in 2018,” Flynn maintains.
Before Flynn signed the plea, he ‘specifically instructed Anthony and Kelner to call [the Special Counsel] immediately and ask if the agents believed that he lied.’
Beyond the conflict of interest, Powell highlighted several other deficiencies in Covington’s representation, the most serious of which is her claim that the Covington lawyers did not inform Flynn that on November 30, 2017, the day before he pleaded guilty, the special counsel’s office “disclosed to Covington that ‘one of the agents who interviewed Mr. Flynn was being investigated by the DOJ Inspector General’ and had electronic communications that ‘showed a preference for one of the candidates for President.’”
Flynn also asserts that his attorneys did not inform him that the special counsel had just disclosed that “the agents said Mr. Flynn had a ‘sure demeanor,’ and ‘did not give any indicators of deception’ and that the agents ‘had the impression at the time that Mr. Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying.’”
Here, Powell also stressed that before Flynn signed the plea, he “specifically instructed Anthony and Kelner to call [the Special Counsel] immediately and ask if the agents believed that he lied. However, when Kelner and Anthony returned to the room where Mr. Flynn was about to sign the plea agreement, they did not inform the Flynns that Van Grack said, ‘both agents said ‘they saw no indication of deception,’ he had ‘a sure demeanor,’ and they ‘did not believe he was lying or he did not believe he was lying.’” Instead, according to Flynn, they said “the agents stood by their statement.”
Watch more on Sidney Powell here:
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