411 F.Supp.3d 15 (D.D.C. 2019), Crim. A. 17-232 (EGS), United States v. Flynn

Docket Nº:Crim. Action No. 17-232 (EGS)
Citation:411 F.Supp.3d 15
Opinion Judge:Emmet G. Sullivan, United States District Judge
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America v. Michael T. FLYNN, Defendant.
Attorney:Brandon Lang Van Grack, U.S. Department of Justice Special Counsel’s Office, Zainab Naeem Ahmad, U.S. Department of Justice, Deborah A. Curtis, Jocelyn S. Ballantine, U.S, Attorney’S Office for the District of Columbia, Washington, DC, for Plaintiffs. Robert K. Kelner, Stephen Pierce Anthony, Cov...
Case Date:December 16, 2019
Court:United States District Courts, District of Columbia

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411 F.Supp.3d 15 (D.D.C. 2019)

UNITED STATES of America

v.

Michael T. FLYNN, Defendant.

Crim. Action No. 17-232 (EGS)

United States District Court, District of Columbia

December 16, 2019

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Brandon Lang Van Grack, U.S. Department of Justice Special Counsel’s Office, Zainab Naeem Ahmad, U.S. Department of Justice, Deborah A. Curtis, Jocelyn S. Ballantine, U.S, Attorney’S Office for the District of Columbia, Washington, DC, for Plaintiffs.

Robert K. Kelner, Stephen Pierce Anthony, Covington & Burling LLP, Washington, DC, W. William Hodes, The William Hodes Law Firm, The Villages, FL, Lindsay R. McKasson, Pro Hac Vice; Jesse R. Binnall, Harvey & Binnall, PLLC, Alexandria, VA, Molly McCann, Pro Hac Vice; Sidney Powell, Pro Hac Vice, Sidney Powell, P.C., Dallas, TX, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Emmet G. Sullivan, United States District Judge

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I. Introduction

On December 1, 2017, Defendant Michael T. Flynn ("Mr. Flynn"), a retired United States Army Lieutenant General and the former National Security Advisor to the President of the United States, pled guilty to willfully and knowingly making materially false statements and omissions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2). Mr. Flynn admitted to lying about his conversations with Russia’s Ambassador to the United States ("Russian Ambassador") during his FBI interview on January 24, 2017. The case was originally assigned to Judge Rudolph Contreras. Judge Contreras accepted the guilty plea, finding that Mr. Flynn— who was represented by experienced attorneys— knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently entered into the Plea Agreement.

Six days later, on December 7, 2017, the case was randomly reassigned to this Court, which scheduled a sentencing hearing for December 18, 2018. During that hearing, the Court conducted an extension of the plea colloquy in view of statements made in Mr. Flynn’s sentencing memorandum that raised questions as to whether Mr. Flynn sought to challenge the circumstances of his FBI interview. In response to the Court’s questions, Mr. Flynn maintained his plea of guilty upon the advice of counsel. Mr. Flynn neither challenged the conditions of his FBI interview nor expressed any concerns with the government’s obligations pursuant to Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963) and this Court’s Standing Brady Order of February 16, 2018. According to the government, Mr. Flynn’s substantial assistance to law enforcement authorities led to criminal charges against individuals in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Rather than imposing a sentence on December 18, 2018, this Court permitted Mr. Flynn to continue his cooperation with the government. Seven months later, however, the government decided not to call Mr. Flynn as a witness in its case-in-chief in the Eastern District of Virginia. Before that trial, Mr. Flynn retained new counsel. Mr. Flynn now asserts his innocence, claims prosecutorial misconduct, prays for dismissal, and urges this Court to hold the prosecutors in civil contempt for alleged Brady violations.

Pending before the Court are several motions filed by Mr. Flynn: (1) Motion to Compel the Production of Brady Material and for an Order to Show Cause, ECF Nos. 109 & 111; (2) Sealed Motion to Compel the Production of Brady Material, ECF No. 112; (3) Sealed Motion for an Order to Show Cause, ECF No. 113; and (4) Motion to Compel the Production of Newly Discovered Brady Evidence, ECF No. 124. Upon careful consideration of the parties’ submissions, the applicable law, the entire record herein, and for the reasons explained below, the Court DENIES Mr. Flynn’s motions.

II. Background

The Court assumes the parties’ familiarity with the factual and procedural background in this case. The Court briefly summarizes the relevant background— drawn from the parties’ submissions and the Statement of the Offense ("SOF") accompanying the Plea Agreement— to resolve

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the pending motions. See SOF, ECF No. 4 at 1-5; see also Plea Agreement, ECF No. 1 at 1 ¶ 2.1

Mr. Flynn served as a surrogate and national security advisor for then-candidate Donald J. Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. SOF, ECF No. 4 at 1 ¶ 1. After the November 2016 election, Mr. Flynn became a senior member of the President-Elect’s Transition Team. Id. Mr. Flynn served as the National Security Advisor to President Trump between January 22, 2017 and February 13, 2017. Def.’s Ex. 1, ECF No. 133-1 at 1-2.

A. Mr. Flynn’s Criminal Conduct

The criminal conduct underlying the offense, as set forth in the Information, was admitted to by Mr. Flynn when he entered his guilty pleas in this case. See, e.g., Information, ECF No. 1 at 1-2; Plea Hr’g Tr. (Dec. 1, 2017), ECF No. 16 at 18-19; Sentencing Hr’g Tr. (Dec. 18, 2018), ECF No. 103 at 9-10. The Information, which was filed on November 30, 2017, charged Mr. Flynn with one count of willfully and knowingly making materially false statements to the FBI, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2), during his interview with two FBI agents on January 24, 2017 in the White House. See Information, ECF No. 1 at 1-2; see also Sentencing Hr’g Tr., ECF No. 103 at 32. Under oath and with the advice of counsel, Mr. Flynn pled guilty to the crime on December 1, 2017. Plea Hr’g Tr., ECF No. 16 at 30-31; see also Plea Agreement, ECF No. 3 at 10. The SOF sets forth the events relevant to this case. See generally SOF, ECF No. 4 at 1-5.2

On December 21, 2016, Egypt introduced a resolution to the United Nations ("U.N.") Security Council regarding Israeli settlements, and the vote on the resolution was scheduled for December 22, 2016. Id. at 4 ¶ 4. On December 29, 2016, then-President Barack H. Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for its interference in the 2016 presidential election. Seeid. at 2 ¶ 3(a). Before the President-Elect was sworn into office, Mr. Flynn engaged in conversations with the Russian Ambassador between December 22, 2016 and December 31, 2016. Id. at 2-5 ¶¶ 3-4.

The FBI opened an investigation into Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, which included determining the existence of any links between Russia and individuals associated with the Trump campaign. Id. at 1 ¶ 1.[3] As part of the

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investigation, Mr. Flynn made a series of materially false statements about his conversations with the Russian Ambassador. Id. at 1-2 ¶ 2 (stating that "[Mr.] FLYNN’s false statements and omissions impeded and otherwise had a material impact on the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the [Trump] Campaign and Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election"); seeid. at 2-5 ¶¶ 3-4; see also Information, ECF No. 1 at 1-2. Mr. Flynn admitted to lying to the FBI about his request on or about December 29, 2016 to the Russian Ambassador that Russia refrain from escalating the situation in response to the sanctions imposed by the United States against Russia, and the Russian Ambassador telling Mr. Flynn that Russia decided to moderate its response to the sanctions. SOF, ECF No. 4 at 2-3 ¶ 3. In addition, Mr. Flynn admitted to making false statements to the FBI about his request on or about December 22, 2016 to the Russian Ambassador that Russia vote against or delay Egypt’s resolution to the U.N. Security Council, that the Russian Ambassador never described to Mr. Flynn Russia’s response to his request, that Mr. Flynn did not request certain countries to take a particular position on the resolution, and that Mr. Flynn only asked the countries for their respective positions on the vote. Id. at 4-5 ¶ 4.

Mr. Flynn also admitted to making false statements in the documents that he submitted to the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ") on March 7, 2017 under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, 22 U.S.C. § § 611-621 ("FARA"). Id. at 5 ¶ 5; see also Addendum to Gov’t’s Mem. in Aid of Sentencing, ECF No. 75 at 3 (stating that "[Mr. Flynn] stipulated and agreed that he violated FARA by making materially false statements" in the FARA filings). Those FARA filings concerned a project that Mr. Flynn and his company, Flynn Intel Group, Inc. ("FIG"), performed on behalf of the Republic of Turkey. SOF, ECF No. 4 at 5 ¶ 5. Mr. Flynn, however, was not charged with any FARA violations. See Information, ECF No. 1 at 1; see also Status Hr’g Tr. (Sept. 10, 2019), ECF No. 114 at 20. For purposes of sentencing, Mr. Flynn did not dispute the relevance of the FARA references in the government’s description of the nature and circumstances of his offense. See Gov’t’s Mem. in Aid of Sentencing, ECF No. 46 at 3-5; see also Def.’s Mem. in Aid of Sentencing, ECF No. 50 at 12. Indeed, the government confirmed that Mr. Flynn could have been charged with making false statements in the FARA filings. Sentencing Hr’g Tr., ECF No. 103 at 28. Under the terms of the Plea Agreement, the government agreed not to further prosecute Mr. Flynn for the criminal conduct described in the SOF. Plea Agreement, ECF No. 3 at 2 ¶ 3. In the final analysis, the government did not charge Mr. Flynn with violating the Logan Act, 18 U.S.C. § 953, or with being a foreign agent. See Information, ECF No. 1 at 1.

B. The Government’s Discovery and Disclosure Obligations

Prior to Mr. Flynn signing the Plea Agreement, the government, on November 22, 2017, provided Mr. Flynns attorneys with the FBIs FD-302 (dated February 15, 2017), which summarized Mr. Flynns January 24,...

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