Michael Flynn asks to withdraw guilty plea
By Robert Legare, Clare Hymes
/ CBS News
President Trump's former National Security Adviser, retired General Michael Flynn, is asking a federal judge to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea. The motion comes more than a year after Flynn testified to his guilt under oath.
"Michael T. Flynn hereby moves to withdraw his plea because of the government's bad faith, vindictiveness, and breach of the plea agreement," his lawyers wrote in a motion filed late Tuesday.
Flynn's legal team has repeatedly accused prosecutors of refusing to "comply with … their constitutional, legal, and ethical obligations" to produce evidence that may be favorable to Flynn's defense and pressuring Flynn to lie as a witness in a separate federal case in Virginia.
Part of Flynn's original plea agreement with former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team stipulated that he cooperate in the Virginia case. Prosecutors later said they no longer found him a necessary witness and did not call him to testify.
The move comes a week after prosecutors shifted their strategy, telling the judge Flynn deserves up to six months in prison and withdrawing their 2018 request that he receive no jail time because of the "serious nature of the defendant's offense, his apparent failure to accept responsibility, his failure to complete his cooperation in [the Virginia Case] and the need to promote respect for the law and adequately deter such criminal conduct."
Tuesday's filing doubles down on Flynn's accusations of prosecutorial "deceit," claiming that when Flynn refused to lie for the government, he was punished and his cooperation was no longer valued. "Justice is not a game, and there should be no room for such gamesmanship in the Department of Justice," the filing reads.
Prosecutors have staunchly opposed Flynn's claims of withholding evidence and pressuring him both in court and in recent filings.
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the Mueller probe, telling the judge that oversees his case in 2018 that he was "aware" that lying to federal investigators was a crime and that he stood by his guilty plea.
But in Tuesday's filing, his lawyers contradicted those statements. "Mr. Flynn will not plead guilty … 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."
Flynn was set to be sentenced later this month, but the judge must first rule on whether to accept this change of plea or move forward with sentencing as planned.
First published on January 14, 2020 / 10:07 PM
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