Columns

Mueller Delays Flynn Sentencing Again 'Due to Status of Investigation'

Former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn leaves federal court in Washington on July 10, 2018, following a status hearing. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller asked today that the sentencing of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn be delayed yet again.

The former Trump administration national security advisor pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators on Dec. 1, 2017. On Feb. 1, lawyers were directed to come back to the court with a sentencing status report no later than May 1. Mueller asked for a delay, and that was bumped to the end of June when another delay was requested.

The court ordered parties to come back with a status report by Aug. 24, and a new filing from Mueller asked that it be extended to Sept. 17.

“Due to the status of its investigation, the Special Counsel’s Office does not believe that this matter is ready to be scheduled for a sentencing hearing at this time,” states the filing.

Flynn’s guilty plea indicated he’s working with special counsel investigators. The court filing said Flynn “falsely stated and represented” to FBI agents that while working on the Trump transition team on Dec. 29, 2016, he “did not ask the government of Russia’s ambassador to the United States to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day,” along with Flynn telling investigators he “did not recall the Russian Ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.”

Flynn was also charged with lying about a Dec. 22 conversation, saying he “did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution; and that the Russian Ambassador subsequently never described to Flynn Russia’s response to his request.”

He faces up to five years in prison on the charge. He was released with the requirement that he check in weekly until sentencing.

Flynn said in a statement at the time that his actions “were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right.”

“My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel’s Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country,” he said. “I accept full responsibility for my actions.” He’s been publicly quiet about the case since.

Former Trump campaign foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos, who tried to set up a meeting between the presidential candidate and the Russian government, pleaded guilty in early October to lying to federal agents about the nature and timing of his contacts. The plea deal was unsealed on the same day as the Manafort and Gates indictments.

Mueller recommended at least six months in prison in a court filing last week; the defense response is due Aug. 31. Mueller indicated Papadopoulos was not being cooperative, saying he should be held accountable for having repeatedly misled them “about critical facts, in an investigation of national importance, after having been explicitly warned that lying to the FBI was a federal offense.”

“The nature and circumstances of the offense warrant a sentence of incarceration,” the special counsel said.

Papadopoulos’ wife said Monday that he is considering whether to withdraw his guilty plea. “Been a hell of a year. Decisions,” Papadopoulos tweeted Monday.