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Judge sets Flynn sentencing, rejects defense arguments

The Detroit News

Washington – A federal judge on Monday scheduled a sentencing hearing for next month for Michael Flynn after rejecting arguments from the former Trump administration national security adviser that prosecutors had withheld evidence favorable to his case.

The order from U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington pushes the case closer to a resolution following months of challenges and arguments from Flynn’s attorneys, who had accused the Justice Department of not producing evidence that they insisted was relevant to the prosecution.

In this Dec. 18, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn arrives at federal court in Washington. Flynn has hired a new lawyer, a former federal prosecutor who has earned the praise of President Donald Trump and repeatedly denigrated the Russia investigation.

Sullivan disagreed in a lengthy opinion Monday, saying Flynn’s attorneys had failed “to explain how most of the requested information that the government has not already provided to him is relevant and material to his underlying offense.”

Flynn, of Middletown, Rhode Island, was supposed to have been sentenced a year ago after admitting lying to the FBI about his interactions with the then-Russian ambassador to the United States. He abruptly asked for the hearing to be postponed so that he could continue cooperating with prosecutors in hopes of securing a lighter punishment for himself.

Since then, he has changed attorneys, who have challenged the basis for the prosecution and accused prosecutors of holding onto relevant information that they said could point to his innocence.

Sullivan rejected those arguments, as well as defense efforts to connect Flynn’s case to that of the late Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. That case, which was also presided over by Sullivan, was ultimately thrown out amid allegations that prosecutors withheld favorable evidence.

“This case is not United States v. Theodore F. Stevens,” Sullivan wrote.