Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn filed a supplemental motion to withdraw his guilty plea Wednesday citing failure by his previous counsel to advise him of the firm’s ‘conflict of interest in his case’ regarding the Foreign Agents Registration Act form it filed on his behalf, and by doing so “betrayed Mr. Flynn,” stated Sidney Powell, in a defense motion to the court.
Flynn’s case is now in its final phase and his sentencing date, which was scheduled for Jan. 28, in a D.C. federal court before Judge Emmet Sullivan was changed to Feb. 27. The change came after Powell filed the motion to withdraw his plea just days after the prosecutors made a major reversal asking for up to six months jail time. The best case scenario for Flynn, is that Judge Sullivan allows him to withdraw his guilty plea, the sentencing date is thrown-out and then his case would more than likely would head to trial.
Powell alleged in a motion in December, 2019 that Flynn was strong-armed by the prosecution into pleading guilty to one count of lying to FBI investigators regarding his conversation with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Others, close to Flynn, have corroborated the accounts suggesting prosecutors threatened to drag Flynn’s son into the investigation, who also worked with his father at Flynn Intel Group, a security company established by Flynn.
I am innocent of this crime, and I request to withdraw my guilty plea. After I signed the plea, the attorneys returned to the room and confirmed that the [special counsel’s office] would no longer be pursuing my son, FLYNN
In the recent motion Flynn denounced his admission of guilt in a declaration, “I am innocent of this crime, and I request to withdraw my guilty plea. After I signed the plea, the attorneys returned to the room and confirmed that the [special counsel’s office] would no longer be pursuing my son.”
He denied that he lied to the FBI during the White House meeting with then FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka. The meeting was set up by now fired FBI Director James Comey and then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was also fired for lying to Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigators. Strzok was fired by the FBI for his actions during the Russia investigation.
Flynn stated: “When FBI agents came to the White House on January 24, 2017, I did not lie to them. I believed I was honest with them to the best of my recollection at the time. I still don’t remember if I discussed sanctions on a phone call with Ambassador Kislyak nor do I remember if we discussed the details of a UN vote on Israel.”
Covington betrayed Mr. Flynn, Sidney Powell Said In Motion
Powell noted in Wednesday’s motion that Flynn’s former defense team at Covington & Burling, a well known Washington D.C. law firm, failed to inform Flynn that their lawyers had made “some initial errors or statements that were misunderstood in the FARA registration process and filings.” She also reaffirmed her position in the motion that government prosecutors are continuing to withhold exculpatory information that would benefit Flynn.
A spokesperson with Flynn’s former law firm Covington & Burling, stated in an email to SaraACarter.com that “Under the bar rules, we are limited in our ability to respond publicly even to allegations of this nature, absent the client’s consent or a court order.”
In Powell’s motion, she stated that Covington and Burling was well aware that it had a ‘conflict of interest’ in representing Flynn after November 1, 2017. She stated in the motion it was on that day, when Special Counsel prosecutors had notified Covington that “it recognized Covington’s conflict of interest from the FARA registration.” Moreover, the government had asked Covington lawyers to discuss the discrepancy and conflict with Flynn, Powell stated in the motion.
“Mr. Flynn’s former counsel at Covington made some initial errors or statements that were misunderstood in the FARA registration process and filings, which the SCO amplified, thereby creating an ‘underlying work’ conflict of interest between the firm and its client,” stated Powell in the motion.
“Government counsel specified Mr. Flynn’s liability for ‘false statements’ in the FARA registration, and he told Covington to discuss it with Mr. Flynn,” states the motion. “This etched the conflict in stone. Covington betrayed Mr. Flynn.”
Powell included in her motion an email from Flynn’s former law firm Covington & Burling between his former attorney’s Steven Anthony and Robert Kelner. The email was regarding the Special Counsel’s then-charges against Paul Manafort, who had been a short term campaign manager for Trump. Manafort and his partner Rick Gates, were then faced with ‘multiple criminal violations, including FARA violations.”
In the internal email sent to Kelner, Anthony addresses his concerns after the Manafort order was unsealed.
I just had a flash of a thought that we should consider, among many many factors with regard to Bob Kelley, the possibility that the SCO has decided it does not have, [with regard to] Flynn, the same level of showing of crime fraud exception as it had [with regard to] Manafort. And that the SCO currently feels stymied in pursuing a Flynn-lied-to-his-lawyers theory of a FARA violation. So, we should consider the conceivable risk that a disclosure of the Kelley declaration might break through a wall that the SCO currently considers impenetrable.
In February, 2017, then Department of Justice official David Laufman had called Flynn’s lawyers to push them to file a FARA, the motion states. In fact, it was a day after Flynn was fired as the National Security Advisor for Trump. Laufman made the call to the Covington and Burling office “to pressure them to file the FARA forms immediately,” according to the motion.
Laufman’s push for Flynn’s FARA seemed peculiar considering, Flynn’s company ‘Flynn Intel Group’ had filed a Lobbying Registration Act in September, 2016. Former partner to Flynn Bijan Rafiekian, had been advised at the time by then lawyer Robert Kelly that there was no need for the firm to file a FARA because it was not dealing directly with a foreign country or foreign government official, as stated during his trial. In Rafiekian’s trial Kelly testified that he advised the Flynn Intel Group that by law they only needed to file a Lobbying Disclosure Act and suggested they didn’t need to file a FARA when dealing with a foreign company. In this instance it was Innova BV, a firm based in Holland and owned by the Turkish businessman, Ekim Alptekin.
In September, 2019, however, in a stunning move Judge Anthony Trenga with the Eastern District of Virginia Rafiekian’s conviction was overturned. Trenga stated in his lengthy acquittal decision that government prosecutors did not make their case and the “jury was not adequately instructed as to the role of Michael Flynn in light of the government’s in-court judicial admission that Flynn was not a member of the alleged conspiracy and the lack of evidence sufficient to establish his participation in any conspiracy…”
An important side note, Laufman continually posts anti-Trump tweets and is frequently on CNN and MSNBC targeting the administration and its policies.
Powell said prosecutors reversed course on their decision to not push for jail time for Flynn in early January because she said, her client “refused to lie for the prosecution” in the Rafiekian case.