- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn should serve up to six months in jail, an abrupt reversal of their previous request to spare him prison time.

Prosecutors said they changed their tune because Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, failed to accept responsibility for his crime of lying to federal agents and did not comply with his agreement to cooperate in a separate case.

“Far from accepting the consequences of his unlawful actions, he has sought to blame almost every other person and entity involved in his case, including his former counsel. Most blatantly, the defendant now professes his innocence,” prosecutors wrote in the sentencing recommendation filed Tuesday with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Flynn’s relationship with the government changed from affable to acrimonious in the past year since his initial December 2018 sentencing was delayed.

He switched attorneys, hiring Sidney Powell who quickly alleged that the Justice Department had concealed evidence. Ms. Powell also repeatedly suggested that Flynn would change his guilty plea.

Separately, Flynn agreed to be the star cooperating witness in the government’s case against his former business partner Bijan Rafiekian. Flynn changed his testimony just before the trial last summer, forcing prosecutors to keep him away from the witness stand.

Rafiekian was convicted of violating foreign lobbying laws by a federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia, but the judge later threw out the verdict.

“The defendant has sought to thwart the efforts of the government to hold other individuals, principally Bijan Rafiekian, accountable for criminal wrongdoing,” prosecutors said.

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 28. His attorney has until Jan. 22 to respond to the government’s sentencing request.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to investigators about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. As part of his deal with prosecutors, he agreed to assist former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling.

In December 2018, prosecutors said Flynn provided “substantial assistance” to the Mueller investigation and recommended no jail time. But U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said Flynn should complete his cooperation and testify at Rafiekian’s trial before receiving his sentence.

Flynn then fired his attorneys and hired Ms. Powell, a frequent Fox News commentator. She accused the government of hiding information she said could exonerate her client.

Ms. Powell also demanded the government dismiss the charges against Flynn even though he had pleaded guilty.

Judge Sullivan denied that request last month, saying it was “undisputed” Flynn lied to both FBI agents and White House officials about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

In a 92-page ruling, Judge Sullivan said the evidence Ms. Powell was seeking did not exist or had already been provided to Flynn.

Tuesday’s sentencing memo illustrates the government’s harsh view of Flynn’s actions since hiring Ms. Powell.

Prosecutors said Flynn deserves some 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 — and his affirmative efforts to undermine — the prosecution of Bijan Rafiekian, and the need to promote respect for the law and adequately deter such criminal conduct.”

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