Michael Flynn will appear in court next week with his combative new lawyer to consider a request to again delay his sentencing for lying to the FBI about conversations with a top Russian official.
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan on Friday scheduled a Wednesday afternoon hearing to discuss the request from the former White House national security adviser, which was made jointly with federal prosecutors. The two sides asked for an extra 60 days before Sullivan delivers Flynn’s punishment in connection with a 2017 guilty plea to special counsel Robert Mueller.
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Flynn will be returning to Sullivan’s Washington, D.C., courtroom for his first appearance since a contentious hearing in December, when the judge repeatedly criticized the former Trump aide over his role in the Russia saga, telling him at one point, “Arguably, you sold your country out.”
That hearing was originally scheduled to end with Sullivan handing down Flynn’s sentence, but the judge at the last minute instead suggested the defendant take more time to fulfill his cooperation obligations to the government.
Since then, attorneys for Flynn and the federal government have twice requested delays in sentencing. And earlier Friday, they filed a new two-page joint status report asking for another extension.
Flynn last week also disclosed that he had fired his original legal team and instead retained Sidney Powell, a fierce and outspoken critic of the Mueller probe whom President Donald Trump later hailed on Twitter as a “GREAT LAWYER.”
Even with the new attorney arrangement — which has sparked speculation Flynn could back out of his guilty plea with federal prosecutors as part of a play for a presidential pardon — the former Trump national security adviser appears to be sticking to his cooperation deal.
That includes testifying in the government’s upcoming trial against his former business partner, Bijan Rafiekian, which is set to start on July 15. Rafiekian was indicted last December for acting as an unregistered agent for Turkey in the U.S. and a related conspiracy charge.
Friday’s status report, the first filing to Sullivan since Powell took over as Flynn’s defense lawyer, noted that Flynn “could be called as a witness” in the Rafiekian trial in Alexandria, Va. After the trial, which is expected to last more than a week, the government said Flynn’s cooperation would be finished and they’d be ready to move ahead with his sentencing.
Flynn’s former lawyers, according to Friday’s status report, have their old client’s case file available for Powell “and they have advised it is voluminous.”
Powell said in the filing she is “already in possession of a massive amount of information to process.” And she added that her “concerns about the amount of information to review in preparation for sentencing will be addressed again in 60 days, when the defendant’s cooperation is likely to be complete.”
Sullivan’s order on Friday also included a demand that Flynn formally notify the court that he’s using the Dallas-based Powell as his defense lawyer. Additionally, the judge ordered Powell to retain a local attorney authorized to practice before his court as a sponsor.