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Ex-Trump aide Michael Flynn seeks to withdraw perjury guilty plea
15 January 2020, 10:15
Donald Trump's former national security advisor Michael Flynn is seeking to withdraw his guilty plea over alleged perjury after claiming prosecutors breached their deal with him.
Mr Flynn has claimed federal prosecutors acted in "bad faith" and breached a deal they made with him.
The move comes just a week after the Justice Department recommended he serve up to six months in prison for lying to the FBI during its investigation into ties between Mr Trump's campaign and Russia.
Prosecutors had earlier said Mr Flynn was entitled to avoid prison time because of his extensive cooperation, with a different stance taken after he hired new lawyers who levelled accusations of misconduct against the government.
A judge has since rejected those claims.
In the court filing, defence lawyers said the Justice Department is attempting to "rewrite history" by withdrawing its recommendation from 2018 that a sentence of mere probation would be appropriate in his case.
"Michael T. Flynn is innocent. Mr Flynn has cooperated with the government in good faith for two years. He gave the prosecution his full cooperation," Mr Flynn's lawyers wrote.
"He endured massive, unnecessary, and frankly counterproductive demands on his time, his family, his scarce resources, and his life.
"The same cannot be said for the prosecution, which has operated in bad faith from the inception of the 'investigation' and continues relentlessly through this specious prosecution."
However, prosecutors insist their new stance on Flynn’s punishment did not recommend that the former Trump insider be sentenced to prison.
The prosecutors in the case claimed they recommended a sentence in accordance with federal sentencing guidelines which suggest between zero and six months in custody.
“As set forth in our submission, we believe that a sentence within the applicable guidelines range — which includes a possible sentence of probation — is appropriate in this case,” prosecutors Brandon Van Grack and Jocelyn Ballantine wrote to defence lawyers Monday.