Trump ex-adviser Flynn's sentencing postponed

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, December 19, 2018
Adjust font size:
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters about former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's lying to the FBI before boarding Marine One en route to Utah, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on Dec. 4, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

A federal judge agreed Tuesday to postpone the sentencing of Michael Flynn, U.S. President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, until he has finished assisting the ongoing Russia probe.

The turn of event came as U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan gave harsh words to Flynn at the hearing. "Arguably, you sold your country out. The court's going to consider all that," he said.

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents about his conversations with former Russian ambassador in Washington during the presidential transition. "I'm going to be frank with you -- this crime is very serious," Sullivan told Flynn.

The postponement, asked by Flynn's legal team, will give him opportunity to further cooperate with the ongoing investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Flynn, also a senior adviser to Trump's presidential campaign team and a retired lieutenant general, admitted in December 2017 that he lied to the FBI about his discussion, including of U.S. sanctions against Russia, with then Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

"This is a very serious offense - a high-ranking senior official of the government, making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation while on the physical premises of the White House," Sullivan said.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who has been leading the Russia investigation, suggested that Flynn serve no prison time given his "substantial" cooperation during the legal process "The court will also consider (Flynn's) substantial assistance in several investigations," Sullivan said.

The judge didn't give a schedule for the sentencing but asked both the Mueller team and Flynn's attorney to provide update on his case by March 13.

On Monday, a business associate of Flynn from Turkey and a Turkish businessman were indicted in a separate case of illegally lobbying for the Turkish government in the United States, violating the U.S. Foreign Agent Registration Act.

The two Turks were accused of illegally helping Ankara urge the deportation of cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is now living in exile in the United States, and who the Turkish government said orchestrated the failed coup attempt in 2016 to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"All along you were an unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as the national security adviser," Sullivan told Flynn. "I cannot assure that if you proceed today you will not receive a sentence of incarceration," he added.

Flynn's lawyers had asked leniency for their client, arguing that the FBI had not warned Flynn that it was a crime to lie to the FBI, and that the interview was conducted without White House counsel present.

Prosecutors dismissed the above claims and said Flynn -- as high-ranking White House official and the former director of Defense Intelligence Agency, and as someone who has served 33 years of military duty -- was well aware that it is a crime to lie to federal authorities.

Lying to the FBI, the criminal nature of which Flynn said at the hearing he was aware of, carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years. However, Flynn's plea agreement stated that he could face between zero to six months in prison.

Federal prosecutors have recommended a lenient sentence for Flynn, including the possibility of probation, on the ground that he has provided "substantial help" to multiple criminal inquiries.

Flynn is the highest-ranking Trump aide so far to face sentencing in the Russia probe.

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from