A formal federal prosecutor pointed out that on Tuesday, former Trump advisor Michael Flynn learned the hard way that federal court is nothing like his former boss’ favorite entertainment arenas.
“Flynn on Tuesday got an unpleasant lesson on the difference between politically effective arguments and legally astute ones,” Ken White, an ex-prosecutor and lawyer who writes at the Popehat blog noted in The Atlantic.
When Flynn went to court earlier in the day, he was “backed by an array of well-wishers including President Trump, and buoyed by widespread conservative arguments that the FBI had violated his rights” — and expected to receive little-to-no sentencing upon the suggestion of special counsel Robert Mueller.
“Instead,” White wrote, “he was threatened with jail by a furious United States District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who accused him of selling America out and forced him to retreat from his evasions.”
The former national security adviser’s lawyers “hastily agreed” to delay his sentencing until March 2019 so he could further cooperate with Mueller’s investigators “and perhaps work off the custodial sentence that Sullivan was clearly contemplating,” the ex-prosecutor noted.
This turn of events, while potentially shocking to Flynn, “was predictable to everyone who understands that federal court is neither Twitter nor a cable news show.”
Until Tuesday, White suggested, Flynn had a sweetheart deal — a recommendation from both Mueller and his prosecutor of probation due to him being “first in the door” to cooperate with the special counsel and offering testimony that was “particularly valuable.”
“Every defendant’s ideal sentence was his to lose,” the attorney wrote. “And he lost it. He now has until March to win it back.”