Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, will not be sentenced on December 18 as previously planned, a federal judge said Wednesday, to await the release of an internal Justice Department report on FBI surveillance.
Judge Emmet Sullivan agreed with prosecutors and Flynn’s lawyers, who asked for Flynn’s long-awaited sentencing hearing to be delayed because they won’t be fully prepared for it until the DOJ inspector general’s report regarding FBI surveillance as part of its early Russia probe is published.
The inspector general’s review is due out December 9. Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017, becoming an early and key cooperator in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Flynn was set to be sentenced last December, but asked to delay the hearing after a judge reacted badly to his arguments. He could face prison time, though the Justice Department previously asked for him to avoid prison. It’s possible the will prosecutors change that view this time around.
But before he can be sentenced, both the Justice Department and Flynn’s legal team must file new overviews of his crime and cooperation in Mueller’s investigation. Flynn’s team has attempted in recent months to unravel his guilty plea for lying to investigator and has embraced conspiracy theories about the FBI investigation that eventually led to the interview in which he lied.
Flynn has asked for more evidence about that time of the investigation, and Sullivan has not yet ruled on whether he can have those details. So both that ruling and the inspector general’s report, which is said to cover topics Flynn is interested in seeing evidence about, aren’t yet available to help both sides prepares their arguments before the sentencing.
“Both parties share the Court’s goal to move this case along expeditiously. The parties nonetheless believe that their sentencing submissions will be incomplete if they are filed prior to the Court’s issuance of its ruling,” prosecutors wrote Tuesday night on behalf of themselves and Flynn.
“Additionally, the parties note that the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is conducting an Examination of the Department’s and the FBI’s Compliance with Legal Requirements and Policies in Applications Filed with the US. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Relating to a certain US. Person. The parties expect that the report of this investigation will examine topics related to several matters raised by the defendant. As widely reported by the media, that report is expected to issue in the next several weeks.”
CNN has previously reported that the inspector general’s report is expected to find missteps by the FBI as it prepared a surveillance warrant targeting former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, but that the reasons for the early FBI work on the Russia investigation and surveillance were appropriate.
Flynn’s sentencing was postponed multiple times as Mueller’s investigation continued and the trial of his former lobbying partner Bijan Kian continued, but his relationship with prosecutors unraveled in July.
Flynn cooperated with the government until the summer, when his attorneys accused prosecutors of withholding some of the most significant documents and audio recordings related to his criminal charge and the Mueller investigation. His attorney Sidney Powell regularly promotes the idea that Flynn was entrapped by the Russia investigators and should be pardoned by Trump.
UPDATE: This story has been updated after Flynn’s sentencing was delayed.