The saga of Michael Flynn just keeps getting stranger – and worse for him. He had a cooperating plea deal that was going to give him no prison time. Then he went off the deep end and screwed that up, and found himself looking at six months in prison. Now he’s seeking to withdraw his guilty plea entirely, which would likely result in him doing years in prison. Now the judge has thrown a new curveball into the mix.
Yesterday, Michael Flynn formally asked Judge Emmet Sullivan for approval to withdraw his guilty plea. In response, the judge delayed sentencing until late February, giving Flynn’s attorneys time to make their case. So what’s really going on here?
The judge has known this request from Flynn was coming for some time. We suspect that if the judge were going to grant Flynn’s request, he’d have done so today. We further suspect that the judge is only giving Flynn this window of time so that he can look reasonable when he eventually denies Flynn’s request. That said, we could be entirely wrong, and Flynn could end up successfully withdrawing his plea and ending up on trial.
If that happens, Michael Flynn’s worst nightmare is going to come true. During his trial, prosecutors will bring out all the evidence against Flynn that didn’t see the light of day due to his plea deal. They’ll also likely bring a superseding indictment against Flynn, adding the criminal charges that he avoided when he cut the deal. Keep in mind that he only had to plead guilty to his least serious crime, which is why he was only going to get zero to six months.
Michael Flynn could now end up going to prison for a very long time. If he’s doing this because he thinks he’s magically going to get pardoned by Donald Trump, he should consider that Trump has pardoned precisely zero of his co-conspirators, and has let them all rot behind bars. That’s probably because Trump isn’t willing to run the risk of triggering a court battle and screwing up his ability to pardon himself on his way out the door. Flynn is trying to throw his life away based on a false promise. Flynn will be very lucky if the judge rejects his request and sentences him to just the six months in prison.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report