Tuesday, December 17, 2019

UPDATED: Briefly Noted: The Flynn Case

If notable commentary on the Flynn case developments shows up today I'll include it here. For now I'll stick with what was said in Judge Rejects Flynn Motions.

Margot Cleveland has an informative, relatively brief, analysis of the ruling. Helpfully, she goes over what Flynn's options are going forward. She addresses a similar point to the one commenter D raised at the linked post. As I pointed out, for Flynn to go public might probably simply enrage the judge for sentencing purposes. Similarly, Cleveland writes:

Now Flynn must decide whether to proceed with sentencing or to attempt to withdraw his guilty plea or challenge the effectiveness of his first trial counsel, or some combination of these. In weighing his options, Flynn will likely recall his last sentencing hearing before Judge Sullivan and the federal judge’s reaction to hints that Flynn was not accepting responsibility for the offense—something that affects sentencing.
Also, given Judge Sullivan’s prior comments, if Flynn proceeds to sentencing now, he is likely to see some jail time. Of course, President Trump might then pardon Flynn, but with the 2020 election forthcoming, political calculations might squelch that hope.

Read it all. Overall she's pretty much on the same page as I am, but she lays emphasis on the fact that Sullivan appears to have approached the motion with a closed mind. My own expressed incomprehension at some of his statements point in the same direction. Cleveland quotes Sidney Powell regarding what I described as Sullivan's "over the top" claim of “Ethical Concerns with Mr. Flynn’s Brief”:

Powell said in a statement that “the plagiarism accusation makes no sense,” adding that she “relied on briefing in one of my own cases and both cited and linked the brief written primarily by my brilliant friend Lucas Walker.” “That’s how Judge Sullivan knew the source for the material,” Powell explained.

Here's the link:

Two passages in Judge Emmet Sullivan’s decision, separated by scores of pages in the tedious 99-page opinion, make clear that the outcome was a forgone conclusion.

UPDATE 1: Ouch!

UPDATE 2: Imagine what Jonathan Turley might have written about Sullivan if he'd been aware of the full facts regarding  the "plagiarism" claim as outline above by Techno Fog. Here's the link to Turley: Flynn Judge Accuses Defense Counsel In Curious Plagiarism Claim. Maybe, just maybe, Flynn has an argument for having the case reassigned?

... Many of us have criticized the prosecution of Flynn who pleaded guilty to a single false statement in interviews with the FBI. In addition, Flynn may not want to be sentenced by Sullivan whose last major hearing include false allegations against Flynn and dramatic condemnations. One can certainly understand Sullivan’s refusal to let Flynn get out of a plea that he willingly entered. However, the opinion contained an attack on his counsel that seemed gratuitous and unsupported. 
Sidney Powell is a former prosecutor with extensive criminal justice experience. She was the subject of a curious part of the long opinion. 
Early on, Judge Sullivan dedicates a separate section to suggest that counsel has committed an unethical act: 
Wait. Powell cited and had a hyperlink to the source of that material, but it warrants a section accusing her of plagiarism and ethical violations?
... I just do not understand why an insufficient citation warranted such a public lashing and suggestion of unethical conduct. 
Powell says that “the plagiarism accusation makes no sense.” She maintains that she used her own prior briefings and a brief written by a friend who was in fact cited. 
The criticism in the opinion will likely deepen the unease of Flynn in having the sentencing under Judge Sullivan. However, the court said that it will proceed with precisely such a hearing on January 28, 2020.


  1. My two cents, which is overvalued: Both Horowitz and Sullivan value the lives they live. They both know that Trump, regardless of 2020, has a shelf-life, 61 months and counting down, there is no back-up, there is no minor league, no one is in the bullpen warming up. Their bet is that the Deep State will return to business as usual NLT January 20, 2025. No matter what Trump does he can't stop the clock and he can't do so much damage to the system that a little legislative bondo and an Earl Schieb (media) $99.99 paint job can't make it look good under a D.C. streetlight. They desire to be part of that "normal" so they hedge their bets where and how they can to maintain plausible deniability with both sides.
    Tom S.

    Guess I date myself; who knew that bondo was so far out of common usage that spellcheck doesn't recognize it.

    1. That's reasonable. The notion that all people in public office (see? I avoided that word "service") are principled and high minded is overrated.

  2. Esp. in light of recent events, this notion (about "principled") is outright laughable.

    The most discouraging part of Anonymous' argument here, is the implicit guess that Barr won't be able to take enough scalps, to stop the D.S. from going back to BAU, after DJT leaves in 2025.

    Likewise with the view, that DJT has no back up for 2025.
    (I actually don't buy that view. For starters, why can't Ratcliffe run for TX Senator (next year?)? And, why can't Nunes pull a 1964 RFK, and find a state where he could "carpetbag"?
    Either guy, either thru a Senate run, or, more likely, thru a major 2021-24 cabinet post, could become quite viable for 2020.)

  3. Yeah, who cares about the law, the Constitution, or justice when your own livelihood is at stake.

  4. And, maybe Cornyn can be offered a cabinet spot, to make way for Ratcliffe in the Senate.

  5. Maybe Flynn needs to man-up and give a speech in Sullivan's court explaining he's fed-up with legal advice that's done nothing but damage his reputation and enrich lawyers and he's renouncing his fake plea deal with corrupt prosecutors who told him to plea to a lie.

  6. I think Margot Cleveland hit the nail on the head with her last line in the Federalist commentary. Sullivan is telling Flynn that he must man-up and either express remorse of his actual guilt (if true) or forthrightly state his innocence and the real reason he was coerced into the guilty plea.

    Sullivan is not going to let him finesse a half-assed fishing expedition excuse or detour around his own shortcomings in this debacle. Flynn the military warrior needs to show up at the hearing in January and Sullivan is right to demand that he stand up for himself and fight for his legal rights with the same honor and intensity that befits an hot warzone.

    One such approach could begin with an admission of his own self-inflicted prior errors and personal weakness in caving to prosecutorial coercion when he knew he was innocent. Then apologize for the interminable course changes and delays inflicted upon the court. Then yield to Powell for the motion to dismiss.