DOJ Unveils Indictment against Mike Flynn’s Business Partner on Eve of His Sentencing

In its brief arguing that Mike Flynn’s lies were significant and willful on Friday, the government reminded that Flynn lied not just about discussing sanctions with Sergei Kislyak, but also about his FARA registration.

Moreover, as the defendant has admitted, weeks after the January 24 interview, he made materially false statements in filings he provided to another branch of the Department of Justice pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”). See Statement of Offense at ¶ 5, United States v. Flynn, No. 17-cr-232 (D.D.C. Dec. 1, 2017) (Doc. 4). The defendant made those false statements while represented by counsel and after receiving an explicit warning that providing false information was a federal offense. See, e.g., FARA Registration No. 6406, Flynn Intel Group (March 7, 2017), available at The defendant was equally responsible for telling the truth to both Department of Justice entities, and under both circumstances he chose to make false statements.

It just unveiled the indictment (which was actually filed on December 12) that probably came of his substantial cooperation in a separate criminal investigation, against his business partner Bijan Kian. Kian got charged — along with Kamil Emil Alptekin — not just with FARA violations but with 18 USC 951, serving as an agent of a foreign government.

I’ll comment more on the substance of the indictment in a follow-up post. But I’m as interested in the timing, for two reasons.

First, in a comment in the addendum describing Flynn’s cooperation, the government had said,

While this addendum seeks to provide a comprehensive description of the benefit the government has thus far obtained from the defendant’s substantial assistance, some of that benefit may not be fully realized at this time because the investigations in which he has provided assistance are ongoing.

I took that to be a comment about indictments. Some districts premise a 5K letter like Flynn received on providing enough testimony to indictment someone else. The government was just a week short of indicting Kian when they submitted that filing.

The unsealing of this indictment (Kian’s arraignment was actually scheduled on the 14th) comes even as Turkey is claiming that Trump told Erdogan at the G-20 that his Administration is working on extraditing Gulen, the topic on which Kian was secretly acting in Turkey’s interest.

In an interview at the Doha Forum on Sunday, Cavusoglu asserted that US President Donald Trump told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the G20 summit in Argentina this month that the US was “working on” the extradition of [Fethullah] Gulen.

The exiled cleric, 77, has been living in a gated compound in eastern Pennsylvania after leaving Turkey in 1999. Erdogan has held Gulen responsible for the deadly attempted coup against him in 2016 — a charge Gulen has denied.

However, there’s no sign from Washington that the US is moving towards extraditing Gulen. Last month, the State Department said the US had received multiple requests from the Turkish government and continued to evaluate materials presented.

Cavusoglu also claimed the FBI had evidence that Gulen’s organization, known as FETO, “had been violating US laws, including tax fraud, visa fraud and also some other illegal activities.”

The circumstances of Trump’s meeting with Erdogan got some attention, as the White House canceled a formal meeting with the Turkish president, but did have a less formal, 50 minute meeting.  This indictment will presumably make it harder for Trump to fulfill that promise, if indeed he made it.

In any case, by unsealing this indictment today, it will make it a lot harder for Flynn’s lawyers to argue in his sentencing hearing tomorrow that his lies weren’t serious. By flipping, Flynn avoided being charged as a Foreign Agent.

54 replies
  1. AnotherKevin says:

    The laughable claim that Flynn was “just doing his job” in talking to the Russian ambassador just got a lot harder to make. Flynn was a true patriot . . . for Turkey.

    • oldoilfieldhand says:

      Horrors! Shame on those swamp dwelling, bottom feeding influence peddlers for conspiring to besmirch the carefully burnished image of our true American Patriot, War Hero, National Security Advisor to Presindebt Trump. They should be ashamed, be held accountable for their deplorable actions and forced to pay a substantial fine, all of course without actually pleading guilty to an actual crime.

  2. Trip says:

    Thank you Marcy! The way, and timing, of how this all came out really does make the Trump talking heads look like tools and stooges. They get a day or two to run their mouths and then “Boom”.

    You run your mouth and I’ll run my business, brother,
    You run your mouth and I’ll run my business, brother,
    You tell everybody I’m busted,
    You talk so much you got me disgusted.
    But you run your mouth and I’ll run my business,
    Just clap your liver lips and I’ll run my business,
    Clap your liver lips and I’ll run my business, brother,
    If I’d followed your advice on how to make dough,
    I’d been in the jailhouse long ago.
    You run your mouth and I’ll run my business, brother.

    • Trip says:

      southpaw‏ @nycsouthpaw

      DOJ’s press release on the charges: … I strikes me as seriously weird, even w Flynn’s cooperation, to throw so many counts at the business partners of the former National Security Advisor and leave him as an unindicted co-conspirator facing no jail time.
      BigCrimeHat‏ @Popehat

      Yeah, this is extremely strong evidence for the proposition that Flynn got a great deal via what he was charged with. Hooray vast unchecked prosecutorial discretion!

      Flynn better be bringing the Mercers. This crap better not be about his military background, the old boy’s club, that’s all I gotta say. Especially after his whining about the FBI agents not coddling him.

      • Joejoe says:

        I mean, he also gave significant info about the Trump transition, of which Flynn’s business partner Kian was also a member…

        • Trip says:

          So far, the value of his offerings vs. being a traitorous scumbag hasn’t yet completely been revealed. Up to now, he’s still got it pretty damn good when you look at his actions and the revelations (which only point to his inner circle of accomplices to date).

        • punaise says:

          tangentially reminded me of the great Pretenders song Tattoed Love Boys:


          The mid twenty joys around a heart that’s black and blue
          Tattooed love boys
          I tore my knees up getting to you
          ‘Cause I needed
          To find out what the thing was for
          Been reading
          But man the time came to explore
          I went apewire ’cause I thought
          Like I’d like it little tease
          But I didn’t mean it
          But you mess with the goods doll, honey you gotta pay, yeah
          A good time was guaranteed for one and all
          The tattoos did target practice in the hall
          While waiting for their number to get called out
          I, I, I, I found out what the wait was about
          I was a good time, yeah, I got pretty good
          At changing tires upstairs bro
          I shot my mouth off and you showed me what that hole was for

          Now I see you
          All impressed and half undressed
          You got paint stick all over the scars and lumps and bumps
          Tattooed love boys
          Have got you where I used to lay
          Well ha ha too bad, but you know what they say
          “Stop snivellin’, you’re gonna make some plastic surgeon a rich man”
          Oh, but the prestige and the glory
          Another human interest story
          You are that

  3. BobCon says:

    I would be eternally grateful if someone could point me to a decent summary of the Middle East factions in this story. Just getting a handle on Turkey with regard to the Saudis, Russians, Israelis, Syrians and Iranians is hard enough, but then puzzling out the relationships between all of these players and the UAE, Yemen, Kuwait, etc. is breaking my brain.

    I get the sense that coalitions form and break up depending on different issues, but understanding the dynamics of even something relatively narrow like the Khashoggi murder is a stetch for me.

    • eyesoars says:

      Even in the terms you like, it’d be essentially impossible.

      Each of the entities you mention has its own internal factions, and their influences are often significant, both internally and externally.

      • chromiumbook0000 says:

        BobCon, I tend to agree with Eyesoars.  Between the various Sunni / Shia branches and sub-branches, it’s a tall task i think even for experts of Middle East geopolitics. That said, as it relates to this administration, a rudimentary/macro but i think relatively accurate way of analyzing things is through the lenses of Flynn, Nader, Broidy and Kushner and where the four of them appear to overlap in terms of worldview. . .

        Pro:  Israel, Russia, Putin/Israel-Favoring factions within Ukraine, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Saudi-backed Hadi-Yemen government

        Anti:  Iran, Qatar, Iran-back Houthi-Yemen….Muslim Brotherhood (ie Khashoggi)

        Not Sure: Turkey (generally supportive provided it doesnt upset RU/SA); Syria (policy seems to be bouncing around a bit);

        Long-winded way of saying, it appears to be a Russia-Israel-Sunni (led by SA) strategy albeit with every player trying to improve its chess board.

  4. Avattoir says:

    Apparently there are over a thousand different types of tiny wasps each of which self-perpetuates by turning other insects into zombies which thereafter exist entirely to house, protect, and eventually nourish the wasp spawn.

    It occurs to me that should one determine to campaign for elected executive authority on a major policy commitment to dismantle a supposedly deeply embedded partisan establishment, but then, on gaining office, proceed generally to fill many if not most appointed leadership positions with self-serving pirates, in that absence of genuine ‘reform’ (such as ordinarily would seem to require at least some basic understanding of public governance), there is more or less guaranteed to remain in place some unrealized number of serious & potentially critical risks, simply as a byproduct of one’s own ignorance in the doing & undoings of things.

    Thus parts of said establishment – especially those which it turns out are to some degree unalloyed with partisanship and instead largely share commitment to some combination of merit & qualification – may just start eating from within.

    (southpaw with a compact expliation of the value in

    A Case of Toad Org:

    Hereby predicting that at least one cable news show host will find the Thing-1 Thing-2 potential here irresistible.)

  5. punaise says:

    with apologies to the Stones:
        So if you’re down on your luck
        And you can’t harmonize
        Find a Gulen with FARA weigh “ayes”
        And if you’re downright disgusted
        And life ain’t worth a dime
        Find a Gulen with FARA weigh “ayes”

  6. Avattoir says:

    FoxNews seems to be doing a bang-up job in leading the rwnj universe in insulating Michael Flynn from attacks on his character.

    Flynn’s background as a government-trained liar sure seems well-enough illustrated by his ability to glad-handing and show a poker face while lying in his m/w FBI agent Strzok & partner in the White House in January 2017. And now we’re approaching the 2nd anniversary of it CONTINUING to work as even Judge Napolitano expresses some sympathy for the plight in which poor widdle naive n.s.a. Mike found himself.

    I wonder if that will begin to change, as it becomes increasingly clear WHY Mueller has been so magnanimous on the matter of his sentence? And if so, when? And is it really all that easy to turn around a 3 year campaign of rep-padding?

    ‘Look, I just got this offer of a hunnert grand just to speak at an NRA rally. Okay with you if I accept?’

    ‘Sure, Mike. You go right ahead & do that.’

  7. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Not just Turkey!

    How irresponsible of us would it be to speculate whether Mike Flynn, who didn’t initially have Keith Schiller at the door, is on tape in compromising situations with the famous Russian prostitutes,  whom even Putin referred to as “the best in the world.”

    Asking for a friend…

  8. obsessed says:

    So the stories this weekend that Trump is trying to extradite the same guy … are those because he had a heads-up about the indictment and is prepping the Fox News spin to say that what Flynn & co. were doing wasn’t so bad? It seems awfully coincidental that the Gulen extradition came back into the news on the eve of this indictment, doesn’t it?

  9. Jenny says:

    Thanks Marcy. You are so quick at putting all the pieces together. Excellent!

    Is Dershowitz working for Flynn? He said Flynn “did not commit a crime by lying” and “lying to the FBI is not a crime.” What? So, Dershowitz says lying to the FBI regarding something they already knew about makes it not a crime? FBI knew Flynn was lying because they had the truth or had him on tape.

    Am I missing something about Dershowitz as a lawyer? He is quite the spinner about lies. Hard to keep up. Makes my head spin. Perhaps his days at Martha’s Vineyard will be even more friendless in 2019.

      • Trip says:

        He’s also a lobbyist for Israel, loves his face on TV, pretends to be liberal but is hard right (including being staunchly anti-Muslim: Gatestone, helped Trump write the Muslim Ban), and likes to associate with rich clientele, no matter their skeletons. My opinion is that he is an opportunistic, horrible human being.

        • Vern says:

          Enthusiastically second your comment and add:  Probable pedophile and enabler of other pedophiles.  Should be disbarred (at a minimum) for the Epstein matter.

  10. Kick the darkness says:

    It will be interesting to see the extent of Flynn cooperation.  Here’s Flynn from 9/14 of this year, upon getting an “Award for Service to America” at the “Gateway Pundit’s Eagle Council Conference”.  In retrospect one wonders what sort of individual freedom he was referring to, and whether he has a tendency to speak of himself in the third person.

    “I really believe in the things I am going to say…..Our fight for individual freedom and liberty…will not be pretty or perfect. We will be measured harshly, trust me.” 


  11. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Every time Trumpty’s Dumpsters like Rudy 9/11 take Mueller’s bait and squawk about Mueller over stepping and ending his investigation, Mueller drops another shoe on ’em and there is nothing they can do about it. For the first time I’m convinced that we are going to see the entire rolling coup exposed and a whole bunch of folks and organizations are gunna be mentioned in indictments but we’re a long way from the end and it won’t be without serious civil conflict. Namaste patriots!

  12. punaise says:

    December 17, 2018 at 2:27 pm


    Don’t question why he needs to be on TV
    He’ll tell you it’s the only way to be
    He just can’t be chained
    To a life where nothing’s gamed
    And nothing’s lost
    At such a cost
    Goodbye, Rudy Tuesday
    Who could hang a frame on you?
    When you change with every news day
    Still we’re gonna miss you…

  13. alaura says:

    I’m sure it was discussed in an earlier post, so my apologies…can the House summon the translator that was in the room when tRump had his private party with Putin in Helsinki? Can Mueller?

    • bmaz says:

      Do you think it makes some meaningful or important distinction to phrase it “tRump” than just spelling the name?? If so, why?

      Is this like the commenter that could only refer to Hillary Clinton as the “Red Queen”? If so, this is just beyond silly.

      • alaura says:

        I notice you don’t call out anyone else about their pet references to the person disgracing the Office of the President. I guess I’m the one on your hate list today, bmaz.
        Nonetheless, I’m thankful to you and all the lawyers for explaining things. And I apologize for annoying you, it isn’t intentional.

        • bmaz says:

          What in the world do you mean “hate list for today”?? What kind of crack comment is that? I simply wonder why this blog comment section gets dumbed down by stupid stuff like “tRump”, Red Queen” and “Drumph”. If you think that is cute or helpful, you are mistaken.

          • punaise says:

            While I don’t use that particular moniker, I kind of like tRump in a “not my president” sort of way. (Unfortunately, last I checked, he still occupies the office). And the Rump dig is too good to pass up.

            There are plenty of other well-earned derogatory nicknames out there:


            Orange Shitgibbon

            Cheetoh Mussolini

            etc. , YMMV

              • Valley girl says:

                c’mon bmaz.  I infer from your comment that you think that what’s his name should be called “Trump” in comments here.  As if he deserves some respect?

                To object to calling Himself “tRump” is just plain silly.  If you have been reading comments assiduously, you would know that commenters at EW use many different terms to refer to the presindebt.

                Are you having a bad hair day?

                • Alan says:

                  Of course Trump does this to everyone else–makes up insulting names for them–but as Michelle says, they go low, and we go high.

                • bmaz says:

                  No VG, I think it is childish and brings this blog down to the level of the current President of the United States. What in the world does it accomplish, except make commenters look like dopes? Please, do tell, what it adds. I’ll be waiting.

                • oldoilfieldhand says:

                  Guilty as charged. I hang my head in shame for stooping to the level of a Wharton School of Business man with the best words. Rest assured, in penance for my thoughtless behavior, I shall, in the future, refrain from referring to the President as the Presindebt; following of course, the release of the Presindebt’s taxes, the Presindebt’s unconditional departure from Twitter, and the verifiable confirmation of the Presindebt’s dignified Presidential behavior, exceeding a 24 hour news cycle, from any syndicated national news program other than Fox and Friends.

                  Also too, I am eagerly anticipating the aptly termed, weekly featured, Trash Talk, being politely and maturely rebranded as “Lively Online Discussions of Collegiate and Professional Gridiron Activity And News, Led By Biased, Under And Unqualified Non-Participants”.

                  I find it rejuvenating and a necessary release, to read the incisive and intuitive interpretation of noteworthy facts, gleaned from the daily events perpetrated in the name of the people of the United States, by Marcy Wheeler; whose reading and writing skills and investigative ability, displayed here in real time, are world class. I have been a faithful follower and supporter of Marcy since she live-blogged the Scooter Libby Trial with Jane Hamsher and there is an unsigned, to my great chagrin, copy of Anatomy of Deceit in my personal library. I pity the unknowing occupants of this country subsisting on a diet of spoon fed pablum from the mainstream, corporate owned and influenced media.

                  Perhaps, as it is said, ignorance truly is bliss, but I find the requisite bliss I need, daily and in spades, contained in the literate, irreverent, witty and satirical prose featured in the comments on emptywheel. I occasionally vent my frustration at the mainstream media’s deliberate misrepresentation of prominent people, their indefensible actions, and whose rambling and unsourced commentary is considered to be newsworthy, all while  mentally straining to help the slow and hopefully exceeding fine grist production of  the DOJ; but will certainly take a hint (Does cue seems too sanguine a term?) from bmaz and endeavor to persevere to clean up my act.

            • G Holland says:

              I’ve also seen “Kaiser Quisling” used a lot on this site. There are so many nicknames for him I no longer even pay much attention. I do NOT, however, believe he is entitled to any respect, so I have no problem with the use of any & all disrespectful nicknames. Palmer Report refers to him as “President” Trump (always in quotations; you can almost see the air quotes made by floating fingers), and I thought his true/original last name WAS actually Drumpf…later Americanized to Trump (early onset nationalism?). Anyway, it’s quicker for me to type DJT than shit-for-brains, so that’s what I choose.

  14. Valley girl says:

    To follow up on my comment above, bmaz, as for the comment section being “dumbed down” by people using other names for His Highness, you are just plain wrong.  If you want to trash every person who imho is a valued commentator who has used an alternative name for Trumpanzee, that would be a very long list.


    • Alan says:

      it all looks pretty above board, and it supports the FBI’s position that Flynn was not mistreated.  Not sure why they wouldn’t release it earlier in order to quash some of the noise…

      • bmaz says:

        In a normal case you know when you get these? Honestly I am not sure why there is any consternation here. In my local state courts, I get them early and often under Rule 15 open discovery. Fed courts are not anywhere near so enlightened, and never have been. That is just not how DOJ attorneys work in the heat of real anger.

        • Alan says:

          There’s no consternation from me, just wonder–and this is not a normal case–it’s a case where there’s intense scrutiny and a massive PR/smear campaign by the targets and their supporters, while the prosecutor can only respond through court filings.  I just don’t understand why they didn’t tack this one to the first 302, even if they had to do that somewhat gratuitously–maybe it’s as simple as it hadn’t yet been redacted and cleared, I don’t know. And interestingly Lawfare reports that the judge requested them to release this document–I haven’t read any more about it to understand his stated reasons or what he might be thinking, but the situation is somewhat interesting…

          • bmaz says:

            Lawfare is correct (think Marcy may also have mentioned in an earlier post) it was a court inquiry. But, with an early plea,and no trial, there is a lot that the government may not, and is not mandated to, produce. I have been in court when you literally got things like this not just before trial, but IN trial. Things are a little better these days, but not that much.

  15. Marinela says:

    Alan was thinking the same, but probably is not making too much of a difference. People that will read it to inform themselves are not the ones watching Fox.

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