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Mueller says FBI not to blame for Flynn's false statements
17 December 2018, 07:13 | Tara Lloyd
Robert Mueller and Michael Flynn AP
The special counsel's office on Friday fired back at the suggestion that former national security adviser Michael Flynn might have been duped into lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his conversations with the Russian ambassador - writing in a new court filing that Flynn "chose to make false statements" not just to agents but to the media, the vice president and other members of the presidential transition.
Mueller's office had previously told the court that he should receive little to no jail time due to his "substantial assistance" in the special counsel's Russian Federation probe. He had been telling this lie for weeks, even after it became a subject of media attention.
Defense lawyers are expected to echo arguments from special counsel Robert Mueller's office that Flynn has been so cooperative with investigators, meeting with them 19 times, that he is entitled to avoid prison when he is sentenced next week. It appeared that Flynn, who lost his home paying for lawyers, only would have to perform community service.
"A sitting National Security Advisor, former head of an intelligence agency, retired Lieutenant General, and 33-year veteran of the armed forces knows he should not lie to federal agents".
"The seriousness of the defendant's offense can not be called into question, and the Court should reject his attempt to minimize it".
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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor.
Michael Flynn, former national security advisor to President Donald Trump, arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse for a status hearing July 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Investigators have examined key episodes such as Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey and his fury over the recusal from the investigation of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Flynn also lied to then incoming-Vice President Mike Pence and other members of the transition team, causing President Trump to reluctantly fire him in December 2017.
"Flynn was alone and "relaxed and jocular", according to the Strzok document. A judge gave Manafort until January 7 to respond to prosecutors' claims that he misled them about his interactions with an associate who they say has ties to Russian intelligence and with Trump administration officials.
In that December 2017 hearing, Flynn confessed he lied about conversations he'd had with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, and revealed he'd acted as a conduit between the diplomat and President Donald Trump's transition team on at least two issues.
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Flynn's legal team said they had reviewed 13 similar false-statements cases over the past decade, finding only two where prison time was imposed on defendants. Flynn is relaxed and hopeful even as the possibility of prison looms when he's sentenced in the Russian Federation probe.
Neither prosecutors nor defense lawyers are seeking prison time for Flynn at his sentencing Tuesday. "They convinced him he did lie, and he made some kind of a deal", Trump said in the television interview.
The special counsel's office also notes that Flynn, who was previously a high-ranking national security official, should have been cognizant of what he was doing.
JOHNSON: The lawyers don't go so far as to mount some kind of entrapment case, but they are offering some suggestions if the judge who's ultimately going to sentence Mike Flynn next week wants to grab at those.
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