Former national security adviser to Donald J. Trump's White House, Michael Flynn, has sued the Jan. 6 committee to prevent them from "enforcing a subpoena for his testimony and documents, claiming it could violate multiple privileges, including his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, by forcing him to disclose evidence related to multiple ongoing criminal matters," Politico reported. The lawsuit was filed in Fla., outside the Washington, D.C. jurisdiction.
In the 42-page lawsuit filed Tuesday, Flynn's attorney Matthew Sarelson said his client had been in "extensive talks" regarding his testimony to the Jan. 6 committee to negotiate the terms of his testimony - going so far as to hire a vendor “to collect and process General Flynn’s documents, which it did, so that they could be preserved, reviewed and produced to the Select Committee.”
“Although the Committee agreed to postpone General Flynn’s deposition to December 20, 2021, it would not agree to clarify or prioritize the Subpoena’s requests,” Sarelson summarized, arguing that by suing the panel, the body would be prevented from enforcing its subpoena and pressing criminal contempt charges.
“[T]here appeared to be no prospect these issues would be resolved absent the intervention of a court, and that General Flynn would seek the Court’s protection,” Sarelson wrote. “Committee counsel responded that the Committee’s preference would be for General Flynn to invoke his 5th Amendment privilege before the Committee, even if it was effectively the only thing he could do, and that the Committee could refer General Flynn for prosecution for contempt of Congress for not doing so.”
Flynn is currently at the center of the Jan. 6 committee's investigation - in large part to his involvement in the Oval Office with then-President Trump on Dec. 18, 2020. During the meeting, Flynn reportedly discussed deploying the military to seize voting machines in service of Trump’s effort to stave off defeat. That conversation came amid increasing indications that Trump was considering invoking the Insurrection Act amid his effort to remain in power if the 2020 presidential election didn't end in his second term in the White House.
“[T]he Select Committee as it currently stands—and stood at the time it issued the subpoenas in question—has no authority to conduct business because it is not a duly constituted Select Committee,” Sarelson stated, later adding that "the Select Committee is rushing to refer any non-cooperative witnesses for criminal prosecution by the Department of Justice for contempt of Congress,” Sarelson wrote. “Thus, General Flynn is caught between alternatives that both risk criminal prosecution by the Department of Justice, either in an ongoing criminal probe, or in a new prosecution for contempt of Congress.”
Flynn isn't the only person of interest who's recently filed a lawsuit to prevent the Jan. 6 committee from subpoenaing their testimony or telephone records. Attorney John Eastman, Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, broadcaster Alex Jones, attorney Cleta Mitchell, and Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander have also taken similar action.
On the flip-side, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon did not sue the Jan. 6 committee when subpoenaed and is now considered a criminal defendant under the law.