A federal judge agreed to delay sentencing for President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI.
Flynn resigned from his post in the Trump administration in February 2017 after serving just 24 days in office. He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials and agreed to fully cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.
Update 7:45 p.m. EST Dec. 18: Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order restricting the travel of former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Sullivan ordered Flynn to turn over his passport and stay within 50 miles of Washington, D.C., beginning on Jan. 4, 2019, according to reports from CNN and Axios.
JUST IN: Judge Emmet Sullivan has ordered Michael Flynn to surrender his passport and remain within 50 miles of Washington, D.C., beginning Jan. 4. https://t.co/ZQ2vhklroY— Axios (@axios) December 19, 2018
Flynn has remained out of jail while awaiting his sentencing for lying to Congress.
Update 2:20 p.m. EST Dec. 18: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press briefing Tuesday afternoon that Flynn's criminal case had nothing to do with Trump.
"The activities that he is said to ... have engaged in don't have anything to do with the president," Huckabee Sanders said. "We wish Gen. Flynn well and we'll continue to focus on doing what we do here everyday."
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says the FBI broke protocol when interviewing Michael Flynn: “James Comey told us that … the only reason that they did it, it was the Trump administration and they thought they could get away with it” pic.twitter.com/I8FuCiicUQ— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) December 18, 2018
Update 1 p.m. EST Dec. 18: Attorneys for Flynn asked U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to delay his sentencing Tuesday after the judge asked whether Flynn wanted to wait until after his cooperation with Mueller's team was completed before being handed his sentence, CNN reported.
Judge Sullivan says it is fine to delay Flynn's sentencing and proceed by having both sides update the judge on Flynn's case in March, per @kpolantz— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 18, 2018
Authorities said in court records filed earlier this month that Flynn has met with investigators 19 times since pleading guilty in December 2017. He’s provided information in three separate investigations, including the probe into Russian election meddling, officials said.
Sullivan paused court proceedings for about half an hour Tuesday to allow Flynn time to confer with his attorneys about whether to postpone the sentencing hearing until after he's completed his cooperation with authorities, Vox.com reported.
Flynn’s attorney suggested in court that most of Flynn’s cooperation with Mueller had been completed, the news site reported, although the attorney added that it was possible Flynn could cooperate further in a case brought against his former business associates in a federal court in Virginia.
Flynn lawyer suggests his cooperation with Mueller is mainly complete. Additional cooperation would involve EDVA case (Kian and Alptekin), probably testimony at trial.— Andrew Prokop (@awprokop) December 18, 2018
>> Michael Flynn's former business associates accused of illegally lobbying for Turkey
An indictment unsealed Monday showed authorities charged Flynn’s former business partner, Bijan Kian, 66, and Turkish businessman Kamil Ekim Alptekin, 41, with conspiracy, acting in the U.S. as illegal agents of the government of Turkey and making false statements to the FBI.
Update 12:50 p.m. EST Dec. 18: Court proceedings resumed just after 12:40 p.m. Tuesday after U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan called a recess to the proceedings.
Sullivan cautioned people not to "read too much into the questions" asked before the break, including a question about whether Flynn could have been charged with treason, The Huffington Post reported.
Judge Sullivan is now trying to walk back some of his rhetoric before the break. Says he was just asking about treason, not saying that Flynn committed it. “Don’t read too much into the questions I asked.” Sullivan says he couldn’t even tell you what the elements of treason are.— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) December 18, 2018
"I wasn't suggesting he had committed treason," Sullivan said, according to Vox.com. "I was just curious."
Update 12:05 p.m. EST Dec. 18: Court proceedings were paused Tuesday morning for a recess to allow Flynn time to confer with his attorneys after U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan asked whether Flynn could have been charged with treason, The Huffington Post reported.
They’re now taking a recess until 12:30, at Flynn’s request.— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) December 18, 2018
Court is expected resume at 12:30 p.m.
Sullivan asked Flynn several questions earlier Tuesday to make sure he wanted to proceed with his sentencing hearing. Sullivan asked Flynn to consider whether to push the hearing back until after he's completed his cooperation with Mueller's team, Vox.com reported.
Court is in recess, because Judge Sullivan has asked Flynn to consider whether he still wants to be sentenced today, or whether he wants to wait until his cooperation is complete in hopes of getting more credit.— Andrew Prokop (@awprokop) December 18, 2018
Update 11:40 a.m. EST Dec. 18: Flynn told U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Tuesday that he knew it was a crime to lie to the FBI, CNN reported.
NEWS: Michael Flynn just deflated Trump’s contention that he was duped into lying to FBI. "I was aware" that lying to FBI investigators was a crime when he did so over interactions with Russians, Flynn tells judge— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 18, 2018
"I do not" seek to withdraw the plea, Flynn tells the judge.
Sullivan asked Flynn a series of questions Tuesday to make sure he wanted to move forward with his sentencing hearing after Flynn said in a defense memo that the FBI never warned him that it was against the law to lie to federal agents.
Update 10 a.m. EST Dec. 18: Flynn has arrived at the courthouse ahead of his scheduled sentencing hearing.
Michael Flynn arrives at the courthouse pic.twitter.com/IZ7EHRN37L— Stephanie Mencimer (@smencimer) December 18, 2018
Original report: President Donald Trump on Tuesday wished Flynn luck ahead of his scheduled sentencing for lying to FBI investigators probing Russian election meddling and its possible ties to Trump and his presidential campaign.
“Good luck today in court to General Michael Flynn,” Trump wrote Tuesday morning in a tweet. “Will be interesting to see what he has to say, despite tremendous pressure being put on him, about Russian Collusion in our great and, obviously, highly successful political campaign. There was no Collusion!”
Good luck today in court to General Michael Flynn. Will be interesting to see what he has to say, despite tremendous pressure being put on him, about Russian Collusion in our great and, obviously, highly successful political campaign. There was no Collusion!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 18, 2018
Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced at an 11 a.m. hearing before U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, according to court records.
Prosecutors asked a judge earlier this month to sentence Flynn to little or no jail time in connection to the case, citing his cooperation with investigators.
In a memo filed last week, Flynn’s attorneys asked he be spared jail time and suggested that FBI agents played to his desire to keep the situation quiet and, as a result, kept him from involving a lawyer when investigators approached him just days after Trump’s inauguration.
Mueller’s team has sharply pushed back at any suggestion that Flynn was duped, with prosecutors responding that as a high-ranking military officer steeped in national security issues, Flynn “knows he should not lie to federal agents.”
Flynn is, so far, the only member of Trump's administration to plead guilty to charges in the Mueller investigation, according to Reuters. Last week, a federal judge in New York sentenced Trump's former long-time attorney Michael Cohen to 36 months in prison for charges that included one count of lying to Congress that had been levied against Trump's former fixer by Mueller's office.
Trump has frequently railed against the investigation, which he has called a witch hunt, and denied any collusion with Russia.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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