The Justice Department has turned over to Michael Flynn’s defense team a page of handwritten notes authored in early 2017 by anti-Trump FBI official Peter Strzok, according to a court filing Tuesday.
Although the notes were not publicly disclosed, Flynn attorney Sidney Powell told The Washington Times they are “highly and totally exculpatory” for her client.
“And I’m sure there is more,” she said.
It may be some time though before the public gets a glimpse of the document, if at all. The notes are shielded from the public under a previous protective order issued by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who has been appointed to various judicial positions by Republican and Democratic presidents.
Judge Sullivan will decide whether the evidence will become public.
Ms. Powell said she will consult with the Justice Department on Wednesday on whether she will file a motion to unseal the notes.
The undated notes are believed to have been written around Jan. 3-5, 2017, about the same time the FBI suddenly reopened its criminal investigation into Flynn, who briefly served as President Trump’s first national security adviser.
Mr. Strzok pushed to keep the case open after consulting with FBI leadership despite failing to turn up any wrongdoing in the investigation, a previous court filing revealed. FBI agents interviewed Flynn at the White House a few weeks later.
The document was discovered by Jeff Jensen, the U.S. Attorney for St. Louis who had been appointed by Attorney General William Barr to review the prosecution of Flynn.
“As we have previously disclosed, beginning in January 20, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri has been conducting a review of the Michael T. Flynn investigation,” a Justice Department official wrote in a letter to Ms. Powell. “The enclosed document was obtained and analyzed by USA EDMO during the course of its review.”
Although it is not clear how significant the most recent find will be, earlier documents uncovered by Mr. Jensen have proven to be bombshells in the case.
Earlier this year, the Justice Department disclosed handwritten documents from Bill Priestap, who previously served as the FBI’s top counterintelligence official. Mr. Priestap questioned whether the purpose of interviewing Flynn was “to get him to lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”
Another document disclosed by the Justice Department was an internal FBI memo revealing the bureau sought to close the Flynn case, but Mr. Strozk and other top officials sought to keep it open.
Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the then-Russian ambassador in the transition period before the Trump administration took over. He has since recanted that plea and professed his innocence.
The Justice Department has pushed to drop the charges, but Judge Sullivan has not immediately granted their request. He also appointed a retired federal judge to oppose the department’s bid.
A motion to dismiss the charges against Flynn is currently pending in a federal appeals court.