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Judge delays Flynn sentencing, expresses 'disdain' for actions

By Danielle Haynes and Allen Cone
Judge delays Flynn sentencing, expresses 'disdain' for actions
The federal judge said he couldn't promise Michael Flynn wouldn't receive a prison sentence after a delay. File Photo by Andrew Harrer/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 18 (UPI) -- A federal judge delayed the sentencing of former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Tuesday after chastising him for betraying his country.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan granted the request by Flynn's attorneys for a delay and asked for a status report in 90 days.

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Flynn pleaded guilty on Dec. 1, 2017, to one count of making a false statement to the FBI for lying about his interactions with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Sullivan accused Flynn of acting as "an unregistered agent of a foreign country" during his time as national security adviser, but later walked back the statement, The Washington Post reported.

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The judge also criticized Flynn for advancing the interests of the Turkish government.

"Arguably, that undermines everything this flag over here stands for. Arguably you sold your country out," Sullivan said, pointing to the American flag. "But I'm not hiding my disgust, my disdain for this criminal offense."

The judge said although he was delaying the sentencing, he was "not making any promises" that Flynn wouldn't receive time in prison.

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"The court's going to consider that," he said. "I cannot assure you, if you proceed today, you will not receive a sentence of incarceration."

Flynn was the first former Trump administration official to be charged in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

President Donald Trump forced Flynn to resign as his national security adviser on Feb. 13, 2017, for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about a meeting he had with Kislyak during the transition period.

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In his resignation letter, Flynn said he may have discussed policy matters and potential sanctions by the Obama administration with Kislyak -- topics he later told Pence were not discussed.

Trump said he only fired Flynn because of the lack of disclosure to Pence, and supported his national security adviser's contacts with Russians during the transition. Former FBI Director James Comey testified in June that Trump implied he wanted the FBI to "let go" of its investigation into Flynn. Trump has denied the allegation.

In December 2015, Flynn sat at a table with Putin at a gala for Russia's state-owned news outlet, RT, and made an appearance on the television network. He made $65,000 that year from companies linked to Russia, but omitted the payments on his security clearance renewal paperwork the following month.

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In April, Flynn filed revised financial disclosure forms revealing payments from three Russian companies with ties to the Kremlin shortly before he joined the Trump campaign.

Two weeks ago, Mueller recommended no prison time for Flynn because of "substantial assistance" in the Russia investigation. He has meet with Mueller's team and other Department of Justice members 19 times.

As he awaits sentencing, the judge ordered Flynn to stay within 50 miles of Washington, D.C., and ordered him to surrender his passport.

"To the extent the defendant wishes to travel outside that area, he is directed to file a motion seeking leave of court," Sullivan said.

The travel restriction order takes effect Jan. 4 and Flynn's already undisclosed, planned international travel is approved.

Flynn has been released without bail.

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