Mueller: No Jail Time Sought for Flynn as He's Given 'Substantial' Help to Feds
WASHINGTON -- In a heavily redacted sentencing memo, special counsel Robert Mueller said that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has been such a help to multiple investigations that no jail time is recommended.
Flynn 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. Another delay request came in August.
Flynn's guilty plea indicated he was working with special counsel investigators. The original court filing said the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency "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 lied multiple times on multiple occasions, the special counsel said.
In the sentencing memo filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Mueller said that "given the defendant’s substantial assistance and other considerations set forth below, a sentence at the low end of the guideline range—including a sentence that does not impose a term of incarceration—is appropriate and warranted."
An addendum to the sentencing memo outlined the ways in which Flynn has been helping government investigators, but as it "includes sensitive information about ongoing investigations, the government is seeking to partially seal" the document and filed a redacted version for public release.
The filing notes that Flynn's "record of military and public service distinguish him from every other person who has been charged as part the SCO’s investigation" but "senior government leaders should be held to the highest standards."
"The defendant’s extensive government service should have made him particularly aware of the harm caused by providing false information to the government, as well as the rules governing work performed on behalf of a foreign government. The defendant deserves credit for accepting responsibility in a timely fashion and substantially assisting the government," Mueller continues. "As described in the Addendum, shortly after the SCO reached out to the defendant to seek his cooperation, the defendant accepted responsibility for his unlawful conduct and began cooperating with the government."
Flynn has participated in 19 interviews with special counsel or other Justice Department investigators, the new document reveals. He's also provided "documents and communications."
He's "assisted with several ongoing criminal investigations," including a criminal probe into a redacted name or entity, the Mueller probe into potential coordination between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, and another fully redacted matter.
Flynn assisted Mueller's team "on a range of issues, including interactions between individuals in the Presidential Transition Team and Russia," with the rest of the sentence redacted. One section begins with, "The defendant also provided useful information concerning," followed by a blacked-out page of text.
The filing notes that the benefit of Flynn's help "may not be fully realized at this time because the investigations in which he has provided assistance are ongoing."
Mueller highlighted how useful it was that Flynn cooperated with the feds early in the investigation.
"The usefulness of the defendant's assistance is connected to its timeliness," the special counsel wrote. "The defendant began providing information to the government not long after the government first sought his cooperation. His early cooperation was particularly valuable because he was one of the few people with long-term and firsthand insight regarding events and issues under investigation by the SCO. Additionally, the defendant's decision to plead guilty and cooperate likely affected the decisions of related firsthand witnesses to be forthcoming with the SCO and cooperate." This is followed by a redacted sentence or two.
Flynn, who has not been commenting in public during his time cooperating with the government, is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 18.