Attorneys for retired U.S. Army lieutenant general and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn on Wednesday asked a federal judge to toss his guilty plea for lying to the FBI and dismiss the case against him.
Flynn’s attorneys say the case should be dismissed because of “outrageous misconduct” by prosecutors uncovered in the FBI’s handwritten interview notes from their 2017 interrogation of the former national security advisor.
Those notes were turned over to Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, in December, according to the court filing.
Ms. Powell said the notes revealed new exculpatory evidence that the government had suppressed, including “outrageous government misconduct” by the Justice Department.
“Only the dismissal of this prosecution in its entirety would begin to get the attention of the government, the FBI and the DOJ needed to impress upon them the ‘reprehensible nature of its acts and omissions,’” Ms. Powell wrote in the nearly 30-page filing.
But Ms. Powell doesn’t detail what the interview notes revealed in Wednesday’s filing. Instead, she asserts the case against Flynn should be dismissed because of the wrongdoing uncovered by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
In a scathing report released last month, Mr. Horowitz detailed a series of FBI missteps, including withholding and doctoring evidence, in its probe of alleged ties between Trump campaign figures and Russia.
Flynn, who briefly served as national security adviser in the Trump White House before resigning ahead of his legal troubles, was one of the probe’s subjects, although Mr. Horowitz focused on the FBI’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application to monitor campaign advisor Carter Page.
Controversial anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok and another agent only identified in the Horowitz report as SSA 1 lead the interrogation of Flynn in 2017.
Mr. Horowitz included in the report that SSA 1 may have helped mislead the FISA court about material facts concerning Mr. Page and British ex-spy Christopher Steele, whose unverified dossier played a role in the FBI obtaining a surveillance warrant.
SSA 1 attended a presidential candidate briefing which Flynn attended as a tool to gather information for the Russia investigation.
“Thus SSA 1’s participation in the presidential briefing was calculated subterfuge to record and report for ‘investigative purposes anything Mr. Flynn and Mr. Trump said in that meeting,” Ms. Powell wrote. “The agent was there only because Mr. Flynn was there.”
Ms. Powell said SSA 1’s interview notes from a separate January 24, 2017 interview with Flynn, revealed “troubling inaccuracies, omissions and unsupported statement.”
Flynn currently is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 27. He faces from zero to six months in jail, which is the range prosecutors are seeking. Flynn’s lawyers have urged Judge Sullivan to sentence him to probation.
U.S. District Judge Emmett Sullivan said he’ll consider Flynn’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea, but also set a legal bar in order to make the change.
Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. He was scheduled to be sentenced in 2018, but it was postponed to give him more time to cooperate with government investigations.
Prosecutors initially said he deserved no jail time for providing “substantial assistance” in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
But Flynn’s relationship with the government soured this summer, as prosecutors sought to put him on the stand in their case against a former business partner.
Prosecutors said Flynn changed his story and refused to put him on the stand. They also reversed their position that Flynn should not serve prison time.