Fox News reported Monday that a federal judge denied former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s requests to receive exculpatory information he believes the FBI may have concealed from his defense team, setting the stage for a Jan. 20 sentencing date.
In 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to a felony charge of lying to the FBI about the substance of discussions he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. following Donald Trump’s 2016 election — a plea that he has since been seeking to have thrown out.
Flynn’s claims barred
However, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled on Monday that by pleading guilty, the retired Army general waived all relevant constitutional rights. In his 92-page opinion, Sullivan found that Flynn’s plea bars him “from raising claims based on any evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment.”
Flynn has said that he voluntarily accepted the plea, a claim that Sullivan acknowledged.
What’s more, the Clinton-era judicial appointee argued that Flynn would need to “establish that the requested information is favorable” to his case before he could gain access it, something Sullivan said that he had failed to do.
Sullivan also ruled that the Flynn had been unable to “explain how most of the requested information that the government has not already provided to him is relevant and material to his underlying offense.”
“No controlling precedent” cited
Sullivan went on to conclude, “Mr. Flynn cites no controlling precedent holding that an uncharged individual is entitled to Brady evidence during an ongoing criminal investigation.”
The term “Brady evidence” is a reference to the 1963 case Brady v. Maryland, in which the Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors must surrender all exculpatory evidence to a criminal defendant.
“Under Brady…’the Government has no duty to disclose evidence that is neutral, speculative, or inculpatory, or evidence that is available to the defense from other sources,'” Sullivan explained.
Further, the judge went on to focus on Flynn’s prior admission of guilt.
It is undisputed that Mr. Flynn not only made those false statements to the FBI agents, but he also made the same false statements to the vice president and senior White House officials, who, in turn, repeated Mr. Flynn’s false statements to the American people on national television.
Sidney Powell, Flynn’s lead lawyer, slammed the decision, calling it “as wrong as it is disappointing.”
Flynn is facing the possibility of up to five years in prison, and while prosecutors in this case have previously signaled that they were not opposed to a probation-only sentence, that occurred before Flynn began actively and aggressively seeking to have his original plea tossed.