Former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s legal team on Friday stepped up their attacks on prosecutors as they accused the Justice Department of withholding documents critical to Flynn’s defense and squabbled with the other side over a sentencing date.
In documents filed Friday afternoon, Flynn attorney Sidney Powell accused the DOJ of worse misconduct than what occurred in the infamous Ted Stevens case – an accusation that amounts to throwing a bomb at the team assembled by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“Unfortunately, the government learned nothing from the rebukes in Stevens,” Powell wrote in a court filing Friday afternoon. “It has engaged in even more malevolent conduct in the prosecution of Mr. Flynn.”
So what is the Ted Stevens case?
Stevens, a former senator from Alaska, was convicted in October 2008 of making false statements to the FBI in order to cover up his receipt of gifts from an oil contractor seeking his help on Capitol Hill. The conviction was thrown out in April 2009 after an FBI whistleblower alleged that prosecutors and FBI agents conspired to withhold exculpatory evidence from Stevens’ defense team.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is presiding over the Flynn case, held Stevens’ prosecutors in contempt of court and described their conduct as “outrageous.”
In the Flynn case, court documents filed on Friday revealed that Flynn’s cooperation with the government is now complete, though a date for his long-delayed sentencing has yet to be agreed upon.
“The government has a crushing 95 percent or higher conviction rate,” Powell wrote in Friday afternoon’s filing. “It is virtually impossible to defend successfully when the might and power of the federal government focuses on the destruction of an individual, and the government holds all the cards.”
Prosecutors, in an earlier filing, said they are ready for Flynn to be sentenced. “The government is not aware of any issues that require the court’s resolution prior to sentencing,” they said.
But Powell argued that the case is still “not ready for sentencing,” citing her position as “new counsel” and their timeline of receiving necessary files and documents. Powell further claimed in the filing that the government “continues to deny our request for security clearances,” requesting the “intervention” of the court after hitting a “dead end.”
Sullivan has scheduled a status conference for Sept. 10. He also ordered the Justice Department to produce all evidence “favorable to Flynn and material either to Flynn’s guilt or punishment.”
Flynn pleaded guilty to providing false statements to the FBI during his January 2017 interview about his contacts with the former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, as part of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. After months of delays, the government said in Friday’s joint status report that the case is ready for sentencing, requesting a sentencing hearing between late October and mid-November.
Powell, whom Flynn retained earlier this summer after firing his old legal team, said her client has “cooperated extensively” with the government as part of the Russia investigation and another probe related to lobbying for the Turkish government.
“Unfortunately, the government learned nothing from the rebukes in Stevens. It has engaged in even more malevolent conduct in the prosecution of Mr. Flynn.”
Flynn’s legal team had sought security clearances in order to review classified material pertaining to him, including transcripts and recordings of the phone calls that “supposedly underpin the charges against Mr. Flynn.”
In June, a federal judge ruled that the Justice Department did not have to publicly file a transcript of a phone call between Flynn and Kislyak. This, after previously directing prosecutors to release details of the December 2016 phone call, in which Flynn discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
Powell pressed anew on Friday for access to the documents.
“The inspector general of the Department of Justice has completed one or more relevant reports that include classified sections, and he is completing additional reports that reportedly will include a large classified section—a significant portion of which will almost certainly relate to Mr. Flynn,” Powell wrote. “We must have access to that information to represent our client consistently with his constitutional rights and our ethical obligations.”
Powell also argued that the FBI has yet to share the original draft of Flynn’s FBI interview summary, from Jan. 24, 2017.
Powell’s filing refers to an investigation being led by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz related to abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
The government, though, argued that they are “not aware” of any classified information that would require a disclosure to them.
Mueller’s office, last year, recommended a lenient sentence for Flynn, with the possibility of no prison time, stating that he had provided “substantial” help to federal investigators about “several ongoing investigations.”
Now representing the government in the Flynn case is former Mueller deputy Brandon Van Grack; U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie Liu; and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deborah Curtis and Jocelyn Balantine.
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.