The Jury Talks Back


Michael Flynn’s Sentencing Postponed

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 3:45 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Michael Flynn faced an angry judge at his sentencing hearing :

A federal judge on Tuesday postponed the sentencing for Michael Flynn after he lambasted President Trump’s former national security adviser for trying to undermine the country and warned he might not spare Flynn from prison.

The stunning development means that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s engagement with Flynn will continue for some months longer, leaving Flynn to wonder whether he will lose his freedom. Flynn’s attorney requested the delay after the judge’s opinion became apparent, hoping further cooperation with law enforcement could earn the court’s mercy.

From the start, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan made clear he was infuriated by Flynn’s conduct — both in lying to the FBI while in the White House, and working to advance the interests of the Turkish government while he was a part of Trump’s campaign.

The judge seemed to take particular umbrage at the suggestion made by Flynn and his supporters, just before the sentencing, that he was duped by the FBI. Early in the hearing, Sullivan forced Flynn to admit publicly that he knew lying to the bureau was illegal, and that he was guilty of a crime. Later, the judge pointed to an American flag as he berated the former three-star general for his misdeeds.

“Arguably, that undermines everything this flag over here stands for,” the judge said. “Arguably, you sold your country out.”

Flynn, standing straight and flanked by attorneys on either side, looked shaken, his jaw clenched.

Also, the judge cautioned Flynn:

The judge said he would take into account Flynn’s cooperation, but he also detailed Flynn’s crimes.

“I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain for this criminal offense,” Sullivan said.

He issued Flynn a warning, and asked if he might like to postpone the sentencing, so he could keep cooperating with the special counsel’s office.

“I cannot assure you, if you proceed today, you will not receive a sentence of incarceration,” Sullivan said.

The administration responded to today’s developments with this from Sarah Sanders:

“The FBI broke standard protocol in the way that they came in and ambushed General Flynn.”

Tweeting before today’s hearing, President Trump wished Flynn “good luck”:

Good luck today in court to General Michael Flynn. Will be interesting to see what he has to say, despite tremendous pressure being put on him, about Russian Collusion in our great and, obviously, highly successful political campaign. There was no Collusion!

Have at it.



  1. It must be pointed out that Judge Sullivan, when admonishing Flynn on the “treason” bit and betraying what the flag stood for, was utterly mistaken – and has since admitted it. He got the timeline wrong; he thought Flynn did that while national security adviser.

    That in no way makes what Flynn did okay or legal, but it’s not the same thing as doing it while part of the administration.

    Basically, what I’m seeing is that some people think Flynn was set up, entrapped by the FBI, blackmailed, and railroaded. Others think he’s guilty as sin on all counts. My take; both sides are half right.

    It looks to me like Flynn is guilty on the Turkish stuff. It also looks to me like Flynn was railroaded by the FBI regarding the interview in the White House. I also find it disturbingly credible that some (not all) of his guilty plea was due to financial duress plus the blackmail angle (threats to prosecute his son).

    My question is, does Flynn deserve jail time for acting as an agent of the Turkish dictatorship without filing the form declaring himself to be? My gut feeling is “yes”, provided, of course, that other, at least as severe, examples of this same offense are dealt with the same way (Hillary campaign manager John Podesta, to name just one ).

    I’d also like to know how Flynn’s vetting for national security adviser was handled. Either his Turkish activities turned up, or they didn’t. If they did, it is utterly scandalous that he got any NatSec job, let alone national security adviser.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 12/18/2018 @ 8:19 pm

  2. Flynn might move to recuse Judge Sullivan because of his treason comments, but it is a risk.

    Comment by DRJ — 12/19/2018 @ 12:10 pm

  3. @DRJ,

    I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right, he has grounds to ask for recusal now.

    Hrmm. I wonder if a more effective angle for him might be to use this as grounds for appealing any jailtime Sullivan gives him?

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 12/19/2018 @ 11:58 pm

  4. My feeling is that if a defendant does not seek refusal based on judicial bias at trial/sentencing, it would not be a basis for appeal unless the bias was something that could not have been known to the defendant. For instance, a black defendant could claim bias on appeal if, after the trial, facts emerged that showed the judge was prejudiced against blacks. But in this case, the claim of bias would be based on something the judge said in court. The defendant knows he said it and any objection should be raised now or I think it would be waived.

    Flynn has a hard choice to make because the judge took back his comment, so I doubt it would be enough to show bias. And asking for recuse would bolster the impression that Flynn doesn’t feel remorse for what he did — he just wants to stay out of jail, like this is a political game instead of a law. He and his legal team have not handled this well so it will be interesting to see what they do next.

    Comment by DRJ — 12/20/2018 @ 10:18 am

  5. Seek recusal, not refusal.

    Comment by DRJ — 12/20/2018 @ 10:18 am

  6. Speaking of federal judges:

    Trump’s Outrageous Behavior Called Out By Federal Judge In RICO Case

    Comment by DRJ — 12/22/2018 @ 12:09 pm

  7. That’s very interesting. I wish there was some source other than Above the Law, but I can’t figure out how to find it.

    Comment by Patterico — 12/23/2018 @ 8:50 am

  8. Try the law firm’s newsrooom. It appears to have been covered by the New York Times, too.

    Comment by DRJ — 12/23/2018 @ 8:57 am

  9. Here is the New York Times’ link. Like the Judge, this strikes me as novel.

    Comment by DRJ — 12/23/2018 @ 10:04 am

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