The last chapter of Michael Flynn's legal drama was set to end on Dec. 18. On Tuesday morning, Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser marched into court for criminal sentencing for lying to the FBI. While Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the probe into potential collusion between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign, asked that Flynn receive a light sentence thanks to his cooperation in the investigation, there was a totally different outcome. After some back-and-forth in the court room signaled that Flynn could be sent to jail if he did not postpone the hearing, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan delayed Michael Flynn's sentencing. So don't pack up just yet.
Flynn had been facing between zero and six months in prison after pleading guilty to charges of lying to federal investigators about his contact with Russian officials during the presidential transition in 2016. Because of his cooperation with the special counsel's office, however, prosecutors recommended that he receive minimal (or no) prison time for those charges. But Sullivan didn't seem to go for it. On Tuesday morning, CBS News broadcaster Steven Portnoy tweeted out that Sullivan blasted Flynn for his offenses, saying his actions arguably "[undermine] everything this flag over here stands for! Arguably, you sold your country out!" According to CNN, Sullivan also said he could not hide his "disgust" and "disdain" over the situation, before suggesting that Flynn might receive prison time. “I cannot assure that if you proceed today you will not receive a sentence of incarceration,” he said per The New York Times. Elite Daily reached out to the Court for the District of Columbia for comment, but did not immediately hear back. Oof. That does not bode well.
While Sullivan later appeared to backtrack on some of his remarks regarding Flynn, saying that "I'm not suggesting he committed treason," according to a tweet from Portnoy — he reportedly appeared to encourage the former security adviser to say that he was not ready to be sentenced today. In the end, Sullivan delayed the hearing to allow Flynn more time to continue his cooperation with investigators, which could lessen his punishment, reported CNBC. Flynn will reportedly return to court in March 2019 for a status hearing regarding his cooperation, per CNN.
The sentence culminates months-long drama surrounding Flynn. Back in 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying about his contact with Russia's ambassador and revealed that he would be cooperating with the special counsel's office, per The New York Times. The extent of his cooperation was revealed in a sentencing memo from Mueller filed on Dec. 4, which stated that Flynn gave interviews to his team and Justice Department attorneys related to the Russia probe, as well as a separate, previously unknown criminal investigation. "The defendant provided firsthand information about the content and context of interactions between the transition team and Russian government officials," the memo says. Unfortunately, most of the details were redacted, but Mueller wrote that Flynn provided "substantial assistance," which is pretty obvious given the amount of censoring. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment about the sentencing memo at the time, but did not hear back.
Flynn's sentence comes in the wake of a three-year sentence that was handed down to Trump's former longtime attorney and fixer Michael Cohen on various charges that also stemmed from details uncovered in Mueller's investigation. On Dec. 12, Cohen was sentenced to 36 months in prison for various financial crimes, including hush money payments he made to two women alleging affairs with the president ahead of the 2016 election. (Trump has denied the affairs, but admitted to reimbursing Cohen for the payment.) Cohen has repeatedly claimed that Trump directed him to make the payments. The White House did not respond to Elite Daily's request for comment at the time of Cohen's sentencing.
Following Cohen's sentencing, Cohen's spokesperson, Lanny Davis, shared a statement with Elite Daily, saying that Cohen "continues to tell the truth" about President Donald Trump's alleged misconduct, and that Cohen would continue to cooperate with investigators. He said,
Michael has owned up to his mistakes and fully cooperated with Special Counsel Mueller in his investigation over possible Trump campaign collusion with Russian meddling in the 2016 election. While Mr. Mueller gave Michael significant credit for cooperation on the “core” issues, it is unfortunate that SDNY prosecutors did not do the same.
According to multiple reports, Cohen will have the possibility of knocking time off his sentence through his cooperation with investigators.
Though the current chapter might have closed on Flynn, this drama is seemingly only getting juicier. Stay tuned.