(National Sentinel) The Swamp: A little-reported order issued by U.S. District Judge Emmett Sullivan late last week in United States v. Flynn indicating that exculpatory evidence may have been withheld by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in the case of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
As reported by The Federalist‘s Margot Cleveland:
Just a week ago, and thus before Sullivan quietly directed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to provide Flynn’s attorneys “any exculpatory evidence,” Washington Examiner columnist Byron York detailed the oddities of Flynn’s case. The next day, former assistant U.S. attorney and National Review contributing editor Andrew McCarthy connected more of the questionable dots. York added even more details a couple of days later. Together these articles provide the backdrop necessary to understand the significance of Sullivan’s order on Friday.
The order stems from a guilty plea Flynn entered in federal court last year after being indicted by Mueller’s prosecutors on Nov. 30, 2017, for lying to FBI agents.
“The following day, Flynn pled guilty before federal judge Rudolph Contreras. Less than a week later — and without explanation — Flynn’s case was reassigned to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan,” Cleveland reported.
One of his first actions was the entering of a standing order Dec. 12, 2017, directing “the government to produce to defendant in a timely manner – including during plea negotiations – any evidence in its possession that is favorable to defendant and material either to defendant’s guilt or punishment.” The order further directed the government, if it “has identified any information which is favorable to the defendant but which the government believes not to be material,” to “submit such information to the Court for in camera review.”
Sullivan has issued that standing order in all of his criminal cases, as he explained in the Cardozo Law Review in 2016. He wrote: “Following the Stevens case, I have issued a standing Brady Order for each criminal case on my docket, updating it in reaction to developments in the law.”
As Cleveland noted, “A Brady order directs the government to disclose all exculpatory evidence to defense counsel, as required by Brady v. Maryland. The Stevens case, of course, is the government’s corrupt prosecution of the late senator Ted Stevens—an investigation and prosecution which, as Sullivan put it, ‘were permeated by the systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence. . . .'” [Sen. Stevens was a Republican senator from Alaska.]
Flynn was set to be sentenced already, but Mueller asked for and was granted a sentencing delay, further adding intrigue to the case.
Moreover, now that Sullivan’s standing order is in place, political observers believe that new materials will be provided to Flynn’s lawyers and that material will contain “several bombshells,” Cleveland explains. One of them is Fox News contributor and former judge Andrew Napolitano.
“So Mike Flynn pleads guilty. A new judge comes in. It’s time for sentencing. Bob Mueller delays sentencing until May. That’s normal. You have a cooperating witness. You don’t want to sentence him until after the cooperation is finished,” he told the morning “Fox & Friends” program.
“And then the judge on his own, not in response to any application from General Flynn’s lawyer says, ‘By the wa, I want all exculpatory evidence.’ Evidence that could help Flynn or hurt the government to be turned over to Flynn’s lawyers,” he continued.
“Why would we want that when General Flynn has already pleaded guilty? That is unheard of. He must suspect a defect in the guilty plea,” Napolitano said. Meaning, he must have reason to believe General Flynn pleaded guilty for some reason other than guilt.
“Do people plead guilty for a reason other than guilt? (Yes.)… So now the question arises: Was he guilty? Did he lie to the FBI? Did the FBI agents who interviewed him, one of them who was Peter Strzok believe that he lied or did he say, ‘We don’t see anything wrong.’… We don’t know the answers to that,” Napolitano observed.
“But it may very well come out that as a result of Judge Sullivan, a very courageous federal judge in DC, ordering this information to be reviewed,” he said.
Earlier reports noted that agents who interviewed Flynn about Russian contacts and collusion at the White House shortly after Trump was inaugurated did not believe he lied to them, the Washington Post reported. Mueller didn’t either, according to Cleveland.
So why did he plead guilty to lying? Some suspect that Mueller’s team did not inform Flynn they did not suspect him of lying, and that he may have agreed to the plea deal as a way of avoiding massive legal expenses and further exposing his family.
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