« Can, should and will AG Sessions seek a federal prosecution of Garcia Zarate after "disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case"? | Main | Looking into the politics and personnel of state-level criminal justice reforms »

December 1, 2017

With guilty plea entered, former national security director Michael Flynn now faces (easy?) sentencing

As reported here via the New York Times, "President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the F.B.I. about conversations with the Russian ambassador last December during the presidential transition."  Here are the most basic legal particulars:

Mr. Flynn, who appeared in federal court in Washington, acknowledged that he was cooperating with the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His plea agreement suggests that Mr. Flynn provided information to prosecutors, which may help advance the inquiry....

Mr. Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to F.B.I. agents about two discussions with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak. Lying to the F.B.I. carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

Sentencing fans know, of course, that the statutory maximum for any federal offense of conviction typically matters much less than the applicable federal guideline sentencing range. For that reason and others, sentencing fans will want to check out Michael Flynn's "Plea Agreement" and "Statement of Offense" available here via the National Law Journal.  (The folks at Lawfare also have lots of Flynn docs at this link.)  Pages 2-3 of the plea agreement highlight the sentencing story (which serves as the basis for the "easy" adjective in this post title), and here is a snippet: 

A. Estimated Offense Level Under the Guidelines

The parties agree that the following Sentencing Guidelines sections apply:

U.S.S.G. Base Offense Level: 6

Total: 6

B. Acceptance of Responsibility

The Government agrees that a 2-level reduction will be appropriate, pursuant to U.S.S.G. 3E1.1, provided that your client clearly demonstrates acceptance of responsibility, to the satisfaction of the Government, through your client's allocution, adherence to every provision of this Agreement, and conduct between entry of the plea and imposition of sentence....

In accordance with the above, the applicable Guidelines Offense Level will be at least 4....

D. Estimated Applicable Guidelines Range

Based upon the agreed total offense level and the estimated criminal history category set forth above, your client's estimated Sentencing Guidelines range is zero months to six months' imprisonment (the "Estimated Guidelines Range")....

The parties agree that, solely for the purposes of calculating the applicable range under the Sentencing Guidelines, neither a downward nor upward departure from the Estimated Guidelines Range set forth above is warranted, subject to the paragraphs regarding cooperation below. Accordingly, neither party will seek any departure or adjustment to the Estimated Guidelines Range, nor will either party suggest that the Court consider such a departure or adjustment, except as provided in the preceding sentence.

December 1, 2017 at 01:30 PM | Permalink


So either one of two things is true. Either Flynn has info that could get Trump impeached or the special counsel is a scumbag.

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 1, 2017 2:31:14 PM

This is Rat lawyer pretextual bullshit. The entire complement of lawyers at partisan political advocates. They want to cancel the results of the Presidential election by any means possible.

It is a patriotic duty to lie to the FBI, all being, donut chomping, coffee slurping traitors to our nation. They allowed 9/11 out of political correctness. Mueller Commission covered up the role of the lawyer profession in 9/11, which is 100% responsibility. The FBI is allowing 15 million internet crimes a year. They are worthless, government make work lawyers, and rent seeking employees.

Mueller should be investigated for his signing off on the Uranium One deal, arrested, tried, and imprisoned.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 1, 2017 3:16:23 PM

Behar writes "They want to cancel the results of the Presidential election by any means possible."

If only we could! Please, please, please.................

Posted by: Ted | Dec 1, 2017 3:42:23 PM

Behar, writes, "Mueller Commission covered up the role of the lawyer profession in 9/11"

How did Behar escape from the asylum again?

Posted by: Mary | Dec 1, 2017 3:43:44 PM

How did Behar get out the straightjacket? Just don't make them the way they used to.

Posted by: anon3 | Dec 1, 2017 3:45:12 PM

Mr. Behar writes: "They want to cancel the results of the Presidential election by any means possible. "

Now why on earth would they want to do that? Trump, after all, is the Birther in chief; the mocker- of- handicapped in chief; the snake-oil-salesman in chief; the pathological liar in chief; the narcissist in chief; the pussy-groper in chief; the Muslim-hater in chief; the Russian-mole in chief; the obstructor-of-justice in chief; and the xenophobe in chief. So, I ask again, why on earth would they want to do that?

Posted by: Harvey from Vermont | Dec 1, 2017 4:21:47 PM

Sorry but but I am sorta with Baher on this one. But seeing as the constitution says the government gets its authority from we the people. Once the United States supreme court basically said it was perfectly legal to lie, cheat, steal fake evidence and pretty much anything else they can dream up to US we then have that same right to do it to them.

Posted by: Rodsmith3510 | Dec 1, 2017 4:24:37 PM

While the sentencing may be "easy," I would still recommend that Flynn's lawyers consult the latest edition of Michael Levine's
"171 Easy Mitigating Factors" or whatever number its up to now.

Posted by: Sam the federal defender | Dec 1, 2017 4:36:58 PM


"So Mr. Flynn, can you please explain how your conversations with the Russian Ambassador and/or his delegates in December 2016/January 2017 affected the election results from November 2016. Don't forget that we recorded all electronic transmissions from Trump Tower and Trump associates even though we publicly denied it through Obumer. Come clean, we know you have a time machine."

Mr. Flynn:

"Stick it where the sun don't shine you corrupt b-st-rds!"

Posted by: albeed | Dec 1, 2017 5:06:17 PM

Flynn should be pardoned. Flynn's contacts with Turkey appall me--but the FBI had NO business asking Flynn about his conversations with the ambassador. So it was a weaponized FBI deployed against him, and that should appall anyone committed to the rule of law.

Flynn, of course, should have said "Go jump in a lake" to the FBI agents trying to question him. And if some federal judge ordered him to, "Screw you" would have been the response.

Posted by: federalist | Dec 1, 2017 8:46:37 PM

Where is the idiot defense bar? They needed to tell Flynn, every word he said on separate occasions would be parsed and compared to all other encounters. You can hurt your cause by saying anything. Or, when he started speaking, they should have smartly hit his back to wake him up, said, just shut up, right now, shut up. You are addressing the enemies of our nation. They are 100% the cause of 9/11 through their PC kowtowing to the Muslim adversary.

I love the way the Democratic Party voters here have only personal attacks in response to the election results. I see the Mueller investigation as just more of that, a personal attack, and disrespect for the real Americans that put Trump in office. The Democratic Party is in denial about the reasons real Americans put Trump in office, the failure of their political model of big government, oppressive regulation, confiscatory taxes, and the imposition of sick doctrines of depravity and degeneracy. Trump will, of course, be re-elected in 2020. Sorry to all the people insulting me personally.

You Democrats should not worry about Trump. He is really a NYC liberal. Watch out when real Americans find out Trump was a weak leader, and just not enough to take back our country. Watch for the guy after Trump.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 1, 2017 10:07:40 PM

Harvey. Why on earth? Because you Democrats stink.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 1, 2017 10:16:36 PM

Federalist writes, "Flynn should be pardoned." By Benedict Arnold II? By the snake oil salesman? By the Russian mole? Give me a break.

Posted by: Aaron | Dec 2, 2017 12:33:27 AM

Surprised that Federalist calls for pardon for Flynn--Flynn was national security adviser while clandestine paid agent for Turkey solicited to kidnap person granted asylum here. I call that treason. Lock up the bastard. Federalist, you love traitors??

Posted by: Evan | Dec 2, 2017 12:38:47 AM

Evan. The investigation is pretextual. No crime has taken place, save not filling out forms properly, and making a rare contradictory statements in lengthy interviews. The investigation itself is a crime, and certainly unethical, violating prosecutor duty.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 2, 2017 2:09:49 AM

Mary. Hi, Sweetie. The Senate just passed the tax reform law. Do you live in a high tax state?

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 2, 2017 3:22:42 AM

"the FBI had NO business asking Flynn about his conversations with the ambassador"

This "go jump a lake" approach to talking with police officers when they allegedly ask [not sure why it isn't here, but you know, I'll grant it for sake of argument] non-germane questions is not advised for everybody.

I take this guy has the means to get a good lawyer, in not just a peon like most of us, and has more reason to expect a pardon if he is a "stand-up guy," so probably has more discretion there.

Posted by: Joe | Dec 2, 2017 3:36:57 PM

The Mueller assignment was Russian collusion that stole the election. All the charged conduct took place after the election, you lawyer morons.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 2, 2017 4:20:50 PM

Mueller and Rosenstein need to be arrested, and imprisoned immediately. All evidence needs to be thrown out.


Posted by: David Behar | Dec 2, 2017 10:34:28 PM

The single most effective way to end the Mueller investigation, and in one day:


Posted by: David Behar | Dec 3, 2017 12:24:54 AM

Lock up Trump. Lock up Flynn. Lock up Behar. Lock them up; lock them up..

Posted by: Evan | Dec 3, 2017 12:27:11 PM

Evan. You are one the rare people stupid enough to actually reply to me. Thank you, Sir.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 4, 2017 1:08:13 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB