Sidney Powell Wants to Have Mike Flynn’s Acceptance of Responsibility and Claims of Innocence Too

Eight days ago, in a filing moving to withdraw Mike Flynn’s plea deal, Sidney Powell said this:

Michael T. Flynn is innocent.

Today, in her sentencing memo, Sidney Powell makes no such claim. Instead, she claims that since November 2017 — 8 months after the second of two lies he pled guilty to, under oath, twice — he has mostly told the truth (a claim that is probably not true).

Since November 2017 (and before), Mr. Flynn told the government the truth about every question it asked him, including what he knows concerning the Flynn Intel Group’s (“FIG”) involvement with Inovo BV, Ekim Altepkin, and the Government of Turkey.

Her only mentions of the primary crime to which Mike Flynn pled guilty are — first — to nod to a brief that backfired when it was filed the first time and which Flynn disavowed under oath before Judge Emmet Sullivan.

Mr. Flynn previously briefed the unique circumstances of the January 24, 2017 FBI “interview” at issue. ECF No. 50 at 7-9.

And, then, to call his out and out lies to the FBI about what he said to the Russian Ambassador an “alleged false statement.”

Admittedly, Mr. Flynn was a high-ranking government official, as was Mr. Wolfe who was charged with a § 1001 violation. That is the only similarity. Mr. Flynn did not participate in any “repeated” conduct. He did not use his position to participate in illegal conduct. Additionally, Mr. Flynn’s alleged false statement did not result in the “significant disruption of an important governmental function” nor did it “significantly impact national security.”

The rest of her sentencing memo, aside from competent arguments about base level sentences and reminding over and over that Flynn served in the military for a long time (which backfired when Rob Kelner raised it in December 2018), consists of the same arguments she made in her motion to withdraw his plea, arguments that conflict in key ways with his sworn grand jury testimony and blame everyone else for false claims that not only reflect what he told his lawyersbut which he signed his name to, repeatedly.

The government also continues its campaign to hold Mr. Flynn responsible for false statements in a FARA filing. It ignores the facts in its possession as well as the decision of another court. Any misstatements in the March 2017 FARA filing at issue were not the fault of Mr. Flynn. He gave his lawyers complete and accurate documents and information. Moreover, he did his part to make sure any FARA filing was accurate. The FARA statements listed in the Statement of Offense (ECF No. 4) are either not false or not attributable to Mr. Flynn.

To counter these claims, government can and will lay out:

  • How the Covington notes and lawyers’ 302s show Flynn lied to his lawyers, which led directly to false statements in his FARA filing
  • Show how Flynn’s sworn grand jury testimony (which she doesn’t mention) undermines her claims that the EDVA prosecutors tried to get Flynn to lie last year
  • Lay out how Powell is making utterly misleading claims about what the government said about Flynn’s exposure to false statements and conspiracy charges
  • Explain that the reason Judge Anthony Trenga ruled there wasn’t sufficient evidence to support a guilty verdict against Bijan Kian was precisely because Flynn reneged on the testimony laid out in his sworn grand jury transcript

That will leave Flynn with his motion to withdraw his guilty plea in tatters, and any claim he is taking responsibility for his crimes shot to hell.

36 replies
  1. roberts robot double says:

    “Mr. Flynn told the government the truth about every question it asked him”

    That looks like a sneaky lie to me. The straightforward statement would have been:

    “Mr. Flynn told the government the truth *in response to* every question it asked him”

    In other words, I can truthfully answer every question about the questions — e.g. “Do you understand the question you have been asked?” — and still bald-faced lie in response to questions that are about my actions.

    Slimy bastards, those lawyers. “Godel, Escher, Bach” comes to mind.

    • P J Evans says:

      That word “about” is sneaky. Telling the truth “about” the questions isn’t anywhere close to answering the questions truthfully.

    • rip says:

      Oooh – Gödel, Escher, Bach! My bible of the 70’s – inscrutable but all-knowing. My dog-eared copy is somewhere around, along with “The Origin of Consciousness in the Bicameral Mind.”

      • roberts robot double says:

        I’d call it ‘thought-provoking but ultimately useless”, otherwise, software wouldn’t still be so awful. Gleick’s “The Information”, however, is a true gem in that it both teaches useful concepts and inspires creativity in the realm of human information representation via arrays of switches. Combine that with Escher’s aesthetic and one might hatch out a Singularity, which is non-trivial, to vastly understate it.

        Speaking of books (apropos with our cultural milieu witnessing America’s klept in all its shamefully shameless vigor), I got my long-awaited copy of William Gibson’s “Agency” yesterday, and, that man only gets better and better with age. Sofa king bad-ass!

        The really, really, really important aspect of Gibson is his heart. Sure the tech is cool and well-thought-out, but the key resides in his heart, his beautiful heart.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          Days prior to my retirement, I was obliged to attend a board meeting where several of us were acknowledged and given flowers. I asked if I could say a few words, which apparently was a controversial request that I had not (but should have) foreseen. After a bit of worrisome murmuring between decision makers, I was granted my request.

          In my very brief address, I mentioned having read “The Information” by Gleick, gave a few highlights and recommended it to the board and administrators who were there. Later, I was complimented and informed that nobody had ever asked to speak like that before.

          How odd, I thought. There I was in what some imagined was the epitome of equitable information sharing. Yet, somehow, it seemed normal to everyone that staff should be seen but not heard. What a world…

          • roberts robot double says:

            I know the feeling well, and have come to greatly respect it for both the attitude it engenders and the omnipresent upwelling karmic happiness that results from it.

            I believe I am the only person to have ever asked to take a newborn out to experience her first evening on Earth as it was so utterly gorgeous outside vis a vis the air inside a hospital. The nurses had literally no idea how to handle my request (with the RFID tag security system embedded in her little bracelet) and it was, after a bit of research on their part, ultimately decided that upsetting the security system was not a good idea and I didn’t push it.

            It really is unbelievably awesome to exist “ouside the box”, except when we are forced to peer back into the sick, dilapidated state of the shared insanity of selfish desires our fellows constantly cocreate, most of them utterly unaware of where their desires originate, merely acting stay within the bounds of their “normalcy”.

            To share anything — be it food, money or a useful tidbit of knowledge — with others is the essence of humanity, for it is a focusing on how we can benefit others as opposed to how they can benefit us. It seems obvious to me, after a handful of decades now, that most people really only want /from/ other people, not /for/ other people. People are so numb to the very idea of selfless behavior that they are often shocked by such random acts of thoughtfulness. That’s probably why it’s probably going to take great tribulations before people pull their heads out of their asses and start giving a shit about others, starting with our most vulnerable and stricken.

            For all — I mean *ALL* — of our problems are caused by a lack of love (the opposite of selfishness), thus only love can solve them. Note, however, that this love might require kicking the asses of those truly destructive in their selfish stridings. Such are the lessons history has bountifully provided us.

      • Kevin says:

        I was a CompSci student when I read GEB, but would not claim to have followed everything. I found Jayne’s hypothesis intriguing as well. Have you read “How Real Is Real” by Paul Watzlawick? Among other things, it gave me a framework for understanding interactions my siblings.

    • Mooser says:

      “Slimy bastards, those lawyers. “Godel, Escher, Bach” comes to mind.”

      Thanks. I will assiduously avoid that firm .

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It’s possible Mike Flynn is confused. He seems to think that Sidney Powell is his lawyer, when she acts as if she is working for Trump. But then his lack of judgment was a major reason Obama fired him as head of the DIA.

  3. Tom R. says:

    I’m trying to figure out what Flynn’s game is. Let’s work out some scenarios:
    1) The motion to withdraw the guilty plea is granted. Trials are slow. He remains free on bail until Wednesday November 4th, and then get a pardon. This is a complete win for him.
    2) The motion is denied. He gets sentenced.
    2a) He appeals, and remains free pending appeal. Appeals are slow. Same result as scenario (1).
    2b) He actually gets sent to prison soon. He spends 6 months behind bars. The pardon comes too late to do him much good. After prison he gets a job with Fox News.

    So, help me out here. What are the chances? IANAL but AFAICT he hasn’t made a good case for withdrawing the plea, and would have a hard time making a good case for appeal. OTOH, it seems that if you have enough money you can drag the process out for years and years, regardless of the merits. On the third hand, Manafort seems to be an exception.

    Purely tactical plea withdrawals are frowned upon:

    • Geoff says:

      This all strikes me as stalling, not a whole lot else, but perhaps a few extra tidbits. Just throwing as much confusing BS at the courts as possible, and then finally getting to the plea bargain with the least possible amount of time spent behind bars.

      The other benefit, of course, is that they want to blow up as many other cases as possible, and keep the right wing noise machine watchers amped up about the deep state. Remember, there is an election dead ahead. In the end, blowing up the plea deal is part of a whole “we didn’t do anything wrong” defense, and the only reason people went to jail was because they got caught in a deep state process and messed up because its soooooooo complicated.

      Other benefit, is that more time slogging around with different lawyers and judges gives you more discovery access it seems. And really, it’s all about keeping Trump out of the clink and keeping his lawyers informed.

      • bmaz says:

        “then finally getting to the plea bargain with the least possible amount of time spent behind bars.”

        Lol, what?

        Flynn ALREADY HAD that plea bargain. You have to be kidding. If Flynn had not have forced bullshit into the court, even through his initial sentencing with his old attorneys at his initial sentencing date, he would be done without ever serving a day.

        There is NO “plea” that will be available that would be “better” than what Kelner and Covington had set up.

        • Geoff says:

          OMG, sorry. Too tired, no editor. I meant pardon, not plea bargain. Plea bargain makes no sense. Aiyeeeeee!

            • Geoff says:

              No apologies required! I should have proof read and not wasted your time. I did enjoy your answer anyway. Haha. I was waiting for the “Moron!” part, which would have been deserved.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      I think a tertiary benefit becoming present in recent years is simply to create long records that your surrogates can later cite on social media, books, ads, after the context is forgotten.

      That or they are creating a training set for the perfect AI right wing grifter

    • Mitch Neher says:

      Tom R said, “1) The motion to withdraw the guilty plea is granted. Trials are slow. He [Flynn] remains free on bail until Wednesday November 4th, and then gets a pardon. This is a complete win for him.”

      What’s in it for Trump to grant Flynn a pardon instead of a commutation of sentence?

      Also, would Trump have to lose the election before Trump would feel free to pardon Flynn?

      I suspect that Trump blames Flynn for getting caught telling stupid lies that blew up in Trump’s face. I’m also convinced that Trump is an inveterate vendettist.

  4. Hika says:

    Does having cruddy legal representation assist Flynn in the process of seeking a pardon or commutation from the President? Is that the kind of help his lawyer is currently providing?

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      I’m also curious if purposefully sabotaging yourself with a bad lawyer is grounds to later make legal noise about bad representation. In general, not just for Flynn’s case. I know the judge had Flynn under oath about his representation when he had good lawyers and even offered another neutral lawyer, which Flynn refused.

  5. Eureka says:

    Turns out my ‘pregnant parens’ nod over on the Schulte page was premature. Now these, here, are some parens that are gonna splat some egg on the face, pretty Powell-y (quick, save them for that tasty cake*):

    (a claim that is probably not true)

    (which backfired when Rob Kelner raised it in December 2018)

    …Flynn’s sworn grand jury testimony (which she doesn’t mention) undermines her claims …

    *We at least get to eat cake, right?

  6. Mister Sterling says:

    I really do hope he gets more than 2 years. He deserves it. January 28. A hearing that has been over 13 months in the making. His lawyers are throwing shit at the judge. There an be no ineffective counsel defense. This is all intentional.

    • emptywheel says:

      He’ll get months, not years. Whether it’s 2 months or 6 depends on how pissed off this whole gimmick makes Judge Sullivan.

  7. The Old Redneck says:

    This is a risky as hell all-eggs-in-one-basket strategy. If the pardon doesn’t happen, or things move to slow for Trump to be president when the case is procedurally ripe for a pardon, Flynn is going to be in deep. Maybe this is what he wants, but most criminal defense lawyers would reject it as an irresponsible game plan.

    • Vicks says:

      Perhaps “it is written” there is some sort of end of days/mid season finale that will reward true believers and punish the resistors?

  8. Just Bill says:

    I have keenly read all EW posts for over the last 4 years. The reporting and analysis, comments (and moderation) are to be commended. The research and insights always informative and timely. Thank you.

    Timely ? O/T… Bolton is a very valuable fact witness for the prosecution of Trump but the good before date of his testimony is almost up. If he does not speak up right now he will miss his moment in history to do the right thing and tell the damning truth of the “drug deal” and much more first hand nefarious detail.

    If Bolton is actually procedurally precluded from testifying directly to the Senate at this late juncture he could still easily sit down with a reporter this weekend and reveal some ‘breaking news’ that would be game changing evidence for impeachment of the President.

    If Bolton has the goods as he has stated – now is the time to act. The impact of sitting down this weekend and telling his story, carefully avoiding perceived executive privilege and possible national security issues. Coincidentally as I started writing this both MSNBC and CNN were analyzing exactly this point about Bolton. Revealing key information after the trial is cowardly and near meaningless.

    This is Bolton’s moment. If he does the right thing then I will keenly look forward to his ‘tell all’ book. If his courage fails him and his book comes out belatedly after the fact well then who cares. It will be a pointless read, too little and too late. His actions right now will stir a future boycott or best seller.

    As WAPO editor Ben Bradley calmly understated in AOTPM ‘It is only the future of the country and democracy that is at stake.’

    ( I have posted only twice in 4 years, as Bill and have been aware that that is too common a monicker so have here changed it to Just Bill.) Thanks.

    • bmaz says:

      Hi Just Bill, and welcome back. For the record, Bolton is NOT prohibited from testifying if he wants to. That said, I for one doubt that Bolton has that much exciting testimony, and that he is willing to really let loose on the WH. Maybe we will get a chance to see!

  9. klynn says:

    On one of the trial recesses today, Rick Scott was basically asked by PBS, “Could you name another president who has manipulated/withheld approved security funds to an ally for personal gain?”

    Scott of FL could not answer the question.

    Quite the moment.

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