Flynn Sentencing Delayed

News  |  Dec 18, 2018

UPDATE 4: More bad news for Flynn as reported by CNN's crime and justice reporter

shimon tweet

UPDATE 3: Here is summary of what happened Tuesday morning: 

Washington Post

After reviewing some of the allegations against Flynn, including that he worked to advance the interests of the Turkish government in the United States during the 2016 presidential campaign, the judge pointed to an American flag behind him in the courtroom and said heatedly, “Arguably, that undermines everything this flag over here stands for. Arguably you sold your country out.

“The court’s going to consider that,” the judge said. “I cannot assure you, if you proceed today, you will not receive a sentence of incarceration.”


Flynn, standing straight and flanked by attorneys on either side, looked shaken, his jaw clenched. Sullivan declared a recess to let Flynn consider whether he wanted to proceed and let the judge impose a punishment, or to delay and cooperate more with the special counsel in hopes of leniency.


Sullivan began the hearing by questioning Flynn about [Flynn’s attorneys suggesting he might have been fooled into lying to the FBI because he had not been warned in advance that doing so is a crime], and the former national security adviser conceded he was aware lying to the FBI was a crime when he did so and declined to withdraw his guilty plea to the offense — a mea culpa that could rankle supporters who have suggested he was duped by law enforcement into committing a crime.

Sullivan reminded Flynn he could get into “more trouble” if he were to lie in court, then asked, “Were you not aware that lying to FBI investigators was a crime?”

“I was aware,” Flynn said.

The judge asked if he wanted to postpone the sentencing, or reconsider his plea.

“I would like to proceed your honor,” Flynn said.

“Because you are guilty of this offense?” the judge responded.

“Yes, your honor,” Flynn said.


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

“Could he be charged with treason?” Sullivan asked special counsel prosecutor Brandon Van Grack.

“It’s such a serious question, I’m hesitant to answer it,” Van Grack responded. He said later he had “no reason to believe that Mr. Flynn committed treason . . . and no concerns over issues related to treason.”

New York Times

Judge Sullivan gave Mr. Flynn the option of delaying the sentencing until he had completed his cooperation agreement with federal prosecutors. “I cannot assure that if you proceed today you will not receive a sentence of incarceration,” Judge Sullivan told Mr. Flynn.

After a short recess, Mr. Flynn returned to the courtroom to take the judge up on his offer.

Oddly, President Trump continues to defend Flynn even though he has cooperated with the special counsel as much as – if not more so than – Michael Cohen whom the president calls a rat

Washington Post:

In a Tuesday morning tweet, Trump wished Flynn “good luck today in court.”

“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,” Trump wrote. “There was no Collusion!”

White House Press Secretary, during a very short briefing Tuesday, also refused to criticize Flynn.


Michael Flynn’s sentencing delayed after judge tells the ex-Trump adviser he may not avoid prison time (WaPo)

Judge Postpones Sentencing of Michael Flynn After Harshly Rebuking Him (NYT)

UPDATE 2: After a short recess, Flynn's defense team – likely noticing things weren't going well for their client - decided to accept Judge Sullivan's offer to delay sentencing. 

delay tweet

Additional color from the courtroom: 


UPDATE: More from CBS News Radio:

portnoy continued

ABC News

Flanked by his wife, and supported by his son and several of his eight siblings, Flynn entered the courthouse head down, without comment. But as the hearing began, Judge Emmet Sullivan asked if he wished to “challenge the circumstances” that led him to lie to the FBI.

Flynn’s reply: "No, your honor."

When asked by the judge if he knew lying to FBI investigators was a federal crime, Flynn replied: "I was aware."

Flynn declined an opportunity to change his plea. His lawyer, Robert Kelner, told the judge he did not believe Flynn was entrapped by the FBI.

"He fully accepts responsibility and stands by his guilty plea based on knowing and willful information," Kelner said.

Judge Sullivan told Flynn he considered the offense especially serious because of where it occurred.

"In the White House! In the West Wing. By a high ranking security officer who up to that point had an unblemished career of service to his country,” the judge said. “It's a very serious offense. ... Arguably, this undermines everything this flag over here stands for! Arguably, you sold your country out!"

When Judge Sullivan told the government to file a redacted version of the FBI notes from Flynn's January 2017 interview Monday night, he gave the public the chance to see that agents did not entrap or trick Flynn. In fact, they gave him every chance to tell the truth and he failed to do so over and over again. 

The reason the judge ordered the 302 placed on the public docket was that Flynn's legal team raised the question in their sentencing memo to the judge of whether FBI agents tried to lay a perjury trap on Flynn. The government, in response, said, "When the defendant said he did not remember something they knew he said, they used the exact words the defendant had used in order to prompt a truthful response."

Sullivan clearly was bothered by Flynn's false allegations against the FBI.  

Michael Flynn, Trump ally turned key Mueller witness, tells judge he was not entrapped by FBI (ABC News)

Judge Emmet Sullivan is sentencing President Trump's former national security advisor Michael Flynn for admittedly lying to the FBI. 

Reports from the courtroom show the judge is not happy with Flynn's defense team's attempt to claim Flynn somehow was tricked by FBI agents who were interviewing him about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition and emphasizes the seriousness of Flynn's lying to federal authorities while in the White House.  

From CBS News Radio:


Special Counsel Robert Mueller had recommended Flynn serve no time due to the extent of his cooperation after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI.