Michael Flynn, who was on track to receive little to no prison time if he simply kept his mouth shut and finished out the formalities of his cooperating plea deal, decided instead this week to hire a new lawyer whose reputation is centered around anti-FBI conspiracy theories. Then this morning Donald Trump publicly congratulated Flynn on the new hire, making clear that Trump is pulling the unstable Flynn’s puppet strings. Now things just got even weirder.
During a multi-month stretch in 2017, there were a number of clues that Michael Flynn might have been on his way to cutting a plea deal. The final straw that seemed to put it over the top was when a Turkish criminal named Reza Zarrab, who has ties to Flynn and lived in one of Donald Trump’s buildings, cut a cooperating plea deal with the United States. Shortly after this, Flynn’s own cooperating plea deal was announced.
The thing is, Zarrab’s case never was closed, and he never was sentenced. The whole thing just sort of went quiet on the surface, which suggested that he’s been continuing to cooperate behind the scenes all this time. But this afternoon, just hours after Trump’s tweet about Flynn, a new sealed filing in the Zarrab case was spotted by Adam Klasfeld of CourtHouseNews.
What does this filing tell us? By virtue of its sealed nature, nothing. But the fact that the filing happened at all, in a case that’s long been dormant, means that something new is happening. Could it be coincidence that the Zarrab case is suddenly coming back to life, just as Michael Flynn is throwing his own related case into chaos? Sure. But it doesn’t feel like one. We’ll see.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report