Judge Berates Flynn for Attempt to Minimize his Crime

The Atlantic is correct: Michael Flynn's lawyers badly miscalculated when they filed their sentencing memorandum claiming the FBI's failure to warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie to the FBI during a voluntary interview was mitigation for sentencing.

Judge Emmet Sullivan, however, who was set to issue Flynn’s sentence on Monday, was not sympathetic. “How is raising these points consistent with accepting responsibility?” he asked Flynn and his lawyers as they stood before him at the lectern on Tuesday. He then lambasted Flynn for lying to federal agents on White House grounds while serving as the president’s top national-security adviser in January 2017, and for lying about his lobbying work for the Turkish government. “Arguably, you sold out your country,” Sullivan said.

He added that while he would take Flynn’s 33-year public-service career and cooperation into account when sentencing him, he would not try to hide his “disdain” and “disgust” for Flynn’s crimes, and asked the government at one point whether Flynn’s conduct rose to the level of treason.

Flynn's sentencing was continued to March. He's still cooperating (in the case of his partners working with him on behalf of Turkey to "remove" the cleric Turkey believes is responsible for the 2016 coup against President Erdogan from PA to Turkey)for prosecution who were indicted a few days ago.

The Judge may cool off by March, but his lawyers' attempt to minimize his conduct after he pleaded guilty by portraying him as a victim of the FBI was a poor strategy.

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    To me (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 07:12:48 PM EST
    The most amazing part was, after this bizarre scene in court were Flynn was forced by the judge to say under oath he was not entrapped, Sara Sanders doubling down on their claim he was "ambushed" by the FBI.

    I do not understand why reporters keeps dignifying these farcical "briefings" with their attendance.

    I don't.  In a sane world the next time she walked into that press room she would find FOX news and WORLD NUT DAILY.  And maybe the Christian Broadcasting Network.

    It's is nothing but lies and propaganda and by sitting there and not walking out they are participating in it.

    Is our media learning? (5.00 / 5) (#2)
    by Erehwon on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 07:45:14 PM EST
    Today was The No Kellyanne Zone, perhaps tomorrow will be The No Sanders Zone!

    Also, glad to see you here still, Capt! As a longtime lurker and occasional poster, I have enjoyed reading your comments.


    BTD has (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Dec 19, 2018 at 05:32:13 AM EST
    been making the point over and over on twitter that the press is really not up to the job of covering the Trump administration. They sit there and let Sanders spew propaganda because she's the press secretary. They let Kellyanne get on TV and spew lies and propaganda because she's a senior advisor. Chris Cuomo said as much the other day when people were asking him why he bothered with inviting Kellyanne on his show.

    He's riding them like Sea Biscuit (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 19, 2018 at 08:26:12 AM EST
    New condition imposed. (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 08:14:50 PM EST
    "Judge Emmet Sullivan is throwing another wrench into former national security adviser Michael Flynn's plans.

    Just hours after delaying Flynn's sentencing, Sullivan is now saying Flynn must stay within 50 miles of the District of Columbia come Jan. 4.

    Flynn had been allowed to travel freely under the conditions laid out by another judge. But Sullivan says he only learned of that today. He is now requiring Flynn to get his permission before he travels outside that zone, as he typically does in such cases.

    The order could cause some complications for Flynn, who has been living in Middletown, Rhode Island, near his family."

    Sullivan says he is approving Flynn's already planned international travel but will also require him to surrender his passport in January.

    A conventional bail order in federal court (none / 0) (#9)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 10:27:44 PM EST
    between guilty plea and sentencing would restrict the defendant's travel to the federal district where the court is located, plus a reasonable perimeter if like DC the district is small (Judge Sullivan's 50 mile radius is not surprising), plus the place where the defendant is living (i.e., the State of Rhode Island) and direct travel between. If the defendant wants to travel elsewhere domestically, a Pretrial Services Officer would normally have to give consent. For international travel, you normally have to go directly to the judge for permission.

    Didn't the shuttering of (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 19, 2018 at 05:07:44 AM EST
    Flynn and Flynn consulting or whatever the Flynn's called their consulting venture lead to Flynn having unrestricted travel privileges? I vaguely remember Flynn's attorneys making some sort of argument about the loss of his business in the wake of these unfounded allegations victimizing Flynn, and now he had to hit the road to make a living.

    Could be so, but Flynn's situation has changed (none / 0) (#14)
    by Peter G on Wed Dec 19, 2018 at 08:46:46 AM EST
    He is now facing sentencing. Indeed, he is now in the middle of a sentencing proceeding, in which the judge has already shown his cards a bit.  That changes the equation for bail and travel purposes. If the judge was sure that prison was coming, he could have revoked Flynn's bail then and there.

    How often do defense lawyers have to be (none / 0) (#3)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 08:03:05 PM EST
    reminded not to let the client's family determine how to pitch the case to the judge for sentencing? Recipe for disaster.

    And see wiki re Emmet Sullivan. (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 08:21:51 PM EST
    Very interesting.

    Jeanine Pirro likes him (none / 0) (#6)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 08:41:45 PM EST
    Didn't the Judge Go a Bit Too Far? (none / 0) (#7)
    by RickyJim on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 09:15:56 PM EST
    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
     I thought with the end of the Cold War, Russia is not an enemy of the United States.

    And as all the news stories say (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 10:23:25 PM EST
    Judge Sullivan soon regretted and retracted that comment. "Treason" is a loaded term with a narrow legal meaning, as you point out. While it seems Sullivan was using it in the more common, colloquial sense, he realized that as a judge it was inappropriate for him to do so. Anyway, it was not Russia but Turkey for which Flynn was shilling, in apparent violation of his duty as a high officer of the United States government.

    The way I heard it (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 19, 2018 at 08:24:24 AM EST
    I thought he did not so much retract it as explain it.  He just said he was not suggesting etc etc.

    I wondered two things.  First maybe he saw things in those redacted documents that make that question less shocking and second it strikes me he may have been really really pi$$ed by the organized attempt by FOX, Rudy, Duhshawitz and others in the days leading up to the hearing to try to bait the judge and lay the ground to broadly exploit any negativity toward the state as soon as it was handed down.  And if you read the transcript it really seems that even in that context the actual word treason was used way more than it even needed to be, maybe he just wanted to sort twist the knife and say don't ever again try to use me for political purposes.

    You would think he certainly knew that in such a high profile the biggest word in the word cloud of the hearing would be treason.  He doesn't strike me as a person who would do such a thing casually or without thought.


    Judge Sullivan (none / 0) (#15)
    by KeysDan on Wed Dec 19, 2018 at 09:50:46 AM EST
    seemed to observe mis-steps not only by the defense, but also, by the prosecution.  The prosecution did not present the case for leniency in terms.of charges possible and the zero jail time suggested for charges made.  I got the impression that the judge felt things were out of whack.

    Does not pass the (none / 0) (#16)
    by ragebot on Wed Dec 19, 2018 at 01:34:09 PM EST
    9 year old test.

    The best explanation I can come up with for Sullivan's action is the announcement that two ex-associates of Flynn have been charged just in time for the sentencing.

    No question Flynn pleading guilty to lying was the result of a plea bargain where plenty of other more serious charges against him were to be dropped if he pleaded and agreed to cooperate.  For what ever reasons Flynn and the govt agreed to this.  While we may never know the full facts leading to the plea both parties seem OK with it.

    I get it that the judge was mad at the govt for how the interview was done and mad at Flynn for his unseemly actions.  But in the bigger picture Flynn was just a cog in a big machine with Mueller at the controls.  If 60 hours of interviews has not produced what Muller was looking for I doubt more time will help.

    What will help is Flynn's testimoney against the two guys who just got charged.

    When did Sullivan express ... (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Yman on Wed Dec 19, 2018 at 02:56:52 PM EST
    ... anger with the government for how the interview was conducted?  He's a notoriously harsh critic of anything he sees as improper government action, but his ire was clearly on Flynn.  Probably because Flynn's actions were not merely "unseemly", but criminal.  I'm wondering if conservatives will finally stop minimizing/defending Flynn's crimes if he incriminates Trump or others close to him.

    More than once (none / 0) (#19)
    by ragebot on Wed Dec 19, 2018 at 08:33:42 PM EST
    Sullivan ordered DOJ to turn over documents and had to brow beat them to meet deadlines.  How many times have defense lawyers pointed out there is a big difference between knowing some one committed a crime and being able to prove it in court.  I am not trying to defend Flynn but guidelines for his lying were 0-6 months and given his military history it is likely 0 would be the sentence.  Not sure what other crimes you think he is guilty of but as for FARA Flynn filed with the Department of Justice to register retroactively as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.  As has been endlessly point out half of Washington may be violating FARA.  I am not minimizing what Flynn did; rather pointing out absent the Mueller investigation what Flynn did would be ignored.

    Absent (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by FlJoe on Thu Dec 20, 2018 at 06:08:16 AM EST
    tRump's election Flynn, Manafort, Cohen and others would be freely continuing their crime spree.

    Oh, please! Just stop already. (5.00 / 6) (#21)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Dec 20, 2018 at 06:34:58 AM EST
    ragebot: "I am not trying to defend Flynn but guidelines for his lying were 0-6 months and given his military history it is likely 0 would be the sentence.  Not sure what other crimes you think he is guilty of ..."

    By all accounts and most any rational measure, Monday's courtroom appearance by Gen. Flynn was an unmitigated disaster for him. He was compelled under oath by Judge Sullivan to admit his prior knowledge that lying to the FBI was a crime, and also acknowledge that FBI agents did not entrap him.

    Judge Sullivan brought the curtain down on the right-wing charade of Flynn's supposed victimization at the hands of former FBI Director James Comey and his agents. It's over. Kaput. Finito. Stop trying to minimize what Flynn did, because that's exactly what you're trying to do here, and it's frankly insulting to everyone's intelligence.

    Further, screw Flynn's military service! As I said the other day just before his sentencing hearing, he betrayed his country and disgraced the stars on his uniform. It was nice to see that Judge Sullivan agrees with that sentiment.

    And as a lesson to any other right-wing fool serving as a ranking officer in our military who might be tempted to behave as Gen. Flynn did, the Pentagon ought to recall him to active duty for the purpose of convening a court martial, whereupon they can bust him in rank, give him a dishonorable discharge and strip him of his pension.

    I'm sorry, but my father didn't give his own life in service to his country in the Vietnam War so that the dishonest, self-serving and sorry-assed likes of Lt. Gen. Michael T. "Lock Her Up!" Flynn could undermine our country's democratic principles and institutions by consorting and conspiring with one of our primary adversaries, while simultaneously serving as a paid foreign agent for both that adversary and one of our autocratic allies.

    As far as I'm concerned, it would serve Flynn right to be appropriately sentenced for the totality of his criminal and duplicitous behavior. Judge Sullivan should follow his initial instincts, ignore the Special Counsel's recommendation of no prison time, and just throw the book at him.



    Well, as a matter of principle, I disagree (none / 0) (#22)
    by Peter G on Thu Dec 20, 2018 at 10:12:22 AM EST
    that anyone should be punished (sentenced) for any crime of which s/he was not convicted. That is not to say that if there are aggravating circumstances of the offense of conviction which could, by their nature, support another criminal charge, that the judge must disregard them in sentencing. (For example, defendant convicted of kidnapping, during which the victim was raped. The fact that rape is a crime does not prevent the judge from imposing a harsher sentence for kidnapping on this basis.) Nor do I have a problem when the additional offense is stipulated by the defendant or freely admitted by him/her under oath as part of a negotiated resolution of a larger investigation. But otherwise, no, the defendant (even Flynn) should not be punished at his sentencing on a one-count conviction for lying to the FBI for other crimes that we "know" he committed.

    In any other part of the world, ... (none / 0) (#25)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Dec 21, 2018 at 03:42:58 AM EST
    ... if any high-ranking military officer so wantonly betrayed the confidence and security of his own country as did Gen. Flynn, it would've been considered treasonous, and that officer would have likely found himself on a scaffold staring at the business end of a noose.

    How civilized we are in the United States, that we would instead give him a slap on the wrist and then allow him to retire at full pension.



    Thank goodness our legal system is nothing like (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Peter G on Fri Dec 21, 2018 at 09:04:59 PM EST
    what people are up against in almost "any other part of the world."

    That's too glib, Peter. (none / 0) (#31)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 26, 2018 at 07:23:24 AM EST
    Because of our country's repeated failures to hold the primary instigators to account for the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals, we are now sliding rapidly toward a dangerously destabilizing political crisis because Republicans absorbed the wrong lessons. Rather than take pause and choose to not engage in cheating and subterfuge due to the political costs, they've instead doubled down on it, determined to get away with it this time.

    Our democratic system of checks and balances is breaking down at key points, and our Constitution isn't going to be worth squat if you keep letting Republicans wipe their a$$es with it. Gen. Flynn was an integral part of a conspiracy to betray his country to Russia, and yet you appear perfectly content to ensure that he gets his "Get Out of Jail Free" card because hey, they had a deal.

    Well, Judge Emmet Sullivan just called out Gen. Flynn publicly in his courtroom, and further questioned the Special Counsel's deal with Flynn, because he had clearly read the entire plea agreement including all those many redactions. He's much better informed about the true extent of Flynn's crimes than are you, me and everyone else, save perhaps for Robert Mueller himself.

    And Judge Sullivan is ringing the alarm bells, telling Mueller and the rest of us in no uncertain terms that the road to Hell for our country is paved by the wretched likes of Mike Flynn and his fellow conspirators. This time, these people need to properly account for their sins. The vitality and integrity of our democratic institutions both depends upon it and demands it.

    These are not mere white collar criminals who doctored the books and got caught with their hands in the cash register. They willingly conspired with Russia to rig a presidential election, and they sold our country out for the proverbial thirty pieces of silver. That renders them traitors. The sheer magnitude of their offense precludes them from any special consideration.

    Phuque Mike Flynn.


    He is in court facing criminal charges (none / 0) (#33)
    by Peter G on Wed Dec 26, 2018 at 09:03:11 AM EST
    In court, his rights are the same, and the procedures and standards invoked by the judge must be the same, as apply to any other defendant. Our shared strong opinions about his non-conviction conduct cannot change that principle. The willingness of the "other side" to throw the rule of law overboard for partisan reasons does not justify our doing the same.

    How many times does (none / 0) (#29)
    by ragebot on Fri Dec 21, 2018 at 04:22:02 PM EST
    the legal definition of treason have to be posted before you get it.

    Flynn pleaded guilty to lying and most likely did that to avoid being found guilty to lots of other stuff.  But there is no reason to think what he did is treason.


    But Judge Sullivan does, because he's read all the reports including the unredacted material. His public takedown of Gen. Flynn wasn't done merely for show, and neither was his question to prosecutors about treason. Sullivan was publicly conveying to us that Flynn's transgressions are likely a helluva lot more serious than many of us heretofore believed them to be.

    Actually, that's precisely ... (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Yman on Thu Dec 20, 2018 at 08:55:51 PM EST
    ... what you're doing when you dismiss Flynn's very serious crimes as merely "unseemly conduct" and then falsely claiming that "the judge was mad at the govt for how the interview was done."  There was nothing improper about the way the FBI interviewed Flynn and the judge never said there was.  Conservatives were floating this line for the past couple of weeks after Flynn's lawyers tried (and failed miserably) to make that argument.

    BTW - Flynn could have been charged with many additional counts crimes, but he doesn't need to be convicted of those crimes for the judge to factor that conduct into his decision.  He can also consider uncharged crimes if where the conduct is related.  He's seen the non-public information re: Flynn's conduct, which is precisely why he looks likely to reject the sweetheart deal offered by Mueller.


    His crimes are much greater than this (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 21, 2018 at 10:14:12 AM EST
    He violated regulations and was running his own foreign back channels out of DIA. He is a traitor. I really don't know what is wrong with him. Some of the things he's done are so outrageous I wonder if he isn't suffering from mania sometimes.

    He works with Mueller or he's going to Leavenworth. They should reinstate his commission and put him in Leavenworth or they are just encouraging someone else to do what he has done.


    We don't (none / 0) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Dec 19, 2018 at 02:40:49 PM EST
    know what he gave Mueller. We don't know what all Mueller has from everybody. So much is redacted. Right now it looks like Mueller is tying up loose ends by putting Flynn's business partners in prison. He appears to be knocking off the fringe on his way to the heart of the operation.

    Of course, once the house changes hands we are probably going to learn a lot more since we will not have the GOP covering for Trump.


    I thought the whole Ambush meme (none / 0) (#28)
    by smott on Fri Dec 21, 2018 at 02:45:51 PM EST
    Was straight out of the appeal-to-RWNJs playbook, in order that Mikey Flynn can have an Ollie North type career post-incarceration.
    Just flat out attempt to get the right wing fever swamp to adopt him as a martyr , while sh-tting on Mueller.
    Unfortunately things that are good PR wise may be moronic legally.
    As his lawyers should have advised him.