Flynn ‘eager’ for sentencing soon, lawyer says

Flynn 'eager' for sentencing soon, lawyer says A brief hearing Tuesday sheds little light on Donald Trump's former national security adviser's cooperation with Mueller probe  Former Trump White House national security adviser Michael Flynn appeared in federal court for the first time Tuesday since his guilty plea last year to a felony false statement charge brought by special counsel Robert Mueller's office, but the brief session shed little light on Flynn's cooperation with prosecutors or what's holding up his sentencing  Flynn's lawyer Robert Kelner made clear that the delay is on the prosecution's side, but with his client proceeding under a plea deal, the defense attorney seemed reluctant to get crosswise with Mueller's team  "The government came to us and said they're not yet prepared to proceed," Kelner told U S District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan

"General Flynn is eager to proceed to sentencing when it is possible [but] with a cooperation agreement, it is really up to the government to make that recommendation General Flynn does want to bring this chapter of his life to a conclusion"  "As does everyone facing sentencing," Sullivan chimed in  Kelner said he didn't expect the facts related to Flynn's cooperation to change in the coming months, but he didn't elaborate on what that cooperation involved The slender, 59-year-old retired Army general stood alongside his lawyers and prosecutors at the courtroom lectern during the exchange Tuesday The most reliable politics newsletter Sign up for POLITICO Playbook and get the latest news, every morning — in your inbox By signing up you agree to receive email newsletters or alerts from POLITICO You can unsubscribe at any time  Mueller's team, represented at the hearing by prosecutors Brandon Van Grack and Zainab Ahmad, said virtually nothing during the 15-minute session  It's unclear why prosecutors are balking at sentencing Flynn, but it could be out of concern that detailing his cooperation with the investigation would reveal aspects of the Mueller probe that are not currently public  At one point, Sullivan began to ask Van Grack if prosecutors planned to make a formal motion to depart from the sentencing guidelines in the case on account of Flynn's cooperation, but as Van Grack began to answer the judge withdrew the question The plea deal contemplates that Flynn will get a sentence of between zero and six months in prison, so it's unclear what benefit a departure from the guidelines would give Flynn  Flynn's guilty plea covered false statements he made to the FBI about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and about the Trump team's lobbying of foreign governments during the transition about a U N resolution critical of Israel

The former Defense Intelligence Agency chief also admitted misleading investigators about efforts he made to advance interests favorable to Turkey's government  Sullivan ordered the hearing after getting a request to start the sentencing process by ordering up a probation department report on Flynn's background and his crime, but the judge signaled he was uncomfortable with the parties' request to do that without setting a specific sentencing date  However, the judge said Tuesday that he also requested the session because he'd never laid eyes on Flynn Another judge, Rudolph Contreras, took Flynn's guilty plea last December A few days later, Contreras recused himself from the case  No official reason was ever been given by the court, but Contreras reportedly approved a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant related to the Trump-Russia investigation In addition, text messages exchanged between a top FBI agent later removed from that investigation, Peter Strzok, indicate that he was friendly with Contreras Foreign Policy Trump’s neglect of Europe goes beyond angry tweets  The case was later reassigned to Sullivan, but every action since has been through an exchange of pleadings online, without any physical appearance in court  "There was a level of discomfort with that, approaching a sentencing proceeding with someone I never met before," the judge said  Sullivan said he'd looked over the record of Flynn's guilty plea, but still wanted to see the defendant in person "It's difficult to judge demeanor, but I did read the transcript," the judge said  Sullivan told both sides to get back to him by August 23 with an update on the status of the case The earliest possible sentencing date for Flynn now looks to be in late October  Flynn's hearing drew a smattering of demonstrators to the courthouse, including both supporters and detractors of the 59-year-old retired Army general "Lock him up!" one man bellowed, as other protesters hoisted signs saying, "Clear Flynn now!" and "General Flynn is a political prisoner "  Some of Flynn's ardent backers have urged him to seek to withdraw his plea in light of recent revelations about the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation However, Flynn admitted under oath last December that he knowingly lied to the FBI His lawyers have given no sign that he plans to back out of the plea deal, which leaves him with a felony record but leaves open the possibility he won't have to serve any jail time

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