Michael Flynn’s lawyer on Monday demanded in a courtroom submitting that the FBI totally search its inner “Sentinel database” and switch over “every” doc through which brokers documented their important January 2017 White House interview with the previous nationwide safety adviser, after it emerged final month that FBI officers had apparently manipulated so-called “302” witness reports within the case weeks after the interview.
Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, additionally asserted that handwritten notes from the interview drafted by since-fired FBI agent Peter Strzok and one other agent are plainly inconsistent with each other, in addition to the ultimate FBI 302 that underpinned Flynn’s responsible plea for one depend of constructing false statements to investigators.
Although the federal government has insisted that its after-the-fact edits to the FBI’s witness reports had been “largely grammatical and stylistic,” Powell argued that they had been in reality extremely substantive and improper alterations that made it seem that Flynn had issued blanket denials to brokers’ questions.
Powell famous within the submitting that she’s going to file a movement looking for to have the case towards Flynn thrown out due to “egregious government misconduct.” Most courts agree that the Supreme Court “would find that the government has an obligation to disclose exculpatory evidence at the plea stage,” Powell wrote, including that the federal government had intentionally manipulated its witness reports to safe a conviction or responsible plea.
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In the meantime, Powell argued there was no excuse for the FBI to not instantly produce complete “redaction history, audit trail, and metadata” for the Flynn witness report, which the federal government has argued reveals that Flynn lied to Strzok and one other agent regarding his communications with Russia’s ambassador on two issues: a United Nations vote on Israel, in addition to the Obama administration’s sanctions towards Russia.
But, only a day earlier than the fateful Jan. 24, 2017 Flynn White House interview, The Washington Post ran a narrative primarily based on a number of U.S. sources stating that the FBI had reviewed Flynn’s calls with the Russian ambassador and located no wrongdoing. And notes from each Strzok and the opposite agent indicated they didn’t imagine Flynn was mendacity to them, Powell noticed.
Powell’s most important jumping-off level within the submitting was the newly revealed textual content messages between Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, which revealed that Page — who was not current for the Flynn interview — had apparently made “edits” to the 302 report.
On February 10, 2017, Powell wrote, “Strzok went into the office, picked up Page’s edits, and made changes that any reasonable person would deem material to the 302.”
Specifically, Strzok “added a definitive statement,” asserting within the 302 report that “Flynn stated he did not” ask the Russian ambassador to vote a sure means on a United Nations decision regarding Israel.
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“This is materially different from the notes which state Flynn did not recall speaking to Kislyak on the UN vote issue,” Powell wrote.
Separately, Powell asserted that the 302 was altered to point that Flynn had answered “no” when requested if the Russian ambassador “described any Russian response to a request by Flynn.” But, Strzok’s contemporaneous notes don’t point out a “Russian response” in any respect, Powell noticed.
Adding insult to harm, Powell alleged, the handwritten “notes bear no signature and date as required by the FBI, casting doubt on their authenticity.”
“If the signatures and dates are present in the originals, the government has unjustifiably redacted that information, possibly without leaving a black mark to disclose a redaction, which itself is a form of deception,” she wrote within the submitting.
The FBI has argued that an apparently lacking model of the Flynn 302, drafted earlier than February 2017, didn’t should be produced as a result of “there is no reason to believe it would materially differ” from materials supplied to Flynn’s authorized group. But, Powell wrote, the regulation on intentional or unintentional proof spoliation, or destruction, is obvious, and “requires the assumption that the evidence is favorable to the defense.”
Further, the notes which were supplied “do not say that [Flynn] made any false statement at all,” Powell continued. “The agents reported back believing he either was honest or believed he was telling the truth. There is nothing in the 302s—draft or final—that says he made false statements. And, the notes do not even match each other—especially on the statements regarding the UN vote and sanctions.”
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Strzok has beforehand famous that he was primarily answerable for asking questions of Flynn, whereas the opposite agent dealt with contemporaneous notetaking. But, the federal government has since argued in courtroom that each units of notes had been contemporaneously taken.
“Even a layman can look at the two sets of notes and discern that Strzok’s miniscule, printed, within-the-lines, longer, and more detailed notes bear none of the hallmarks of being written during the press of an interview—much less by the secondary note-taker,” Powell fired again. “That observation is even more obvious when compared with Agent 2’s notes, which do appear to be contemporaneous.”
Ordinarily, Powell famous, false statements circumstances come up “incidentally” when the FBI is questioning suspects as a part of an investigation. But on this case, FBI brokers on the path of then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe broke their regular process to query McCabe on the White House regarding his wiretapped calls with the Russian ambassador.
“But here, to use [former FBI agent Peter] Strzok’s own words, the investigation was ‘a pretext,'” Powell wrote. “The object of the interview was to secure, rather than prevent, a 1001 [false statements] violation.”
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Former FBI Director James Comey admitted in an interview final yr that he personally made the choice to ship a pair of brokers to interview Flynn in 2017, and acknowledged the association was not typical for coping with a White House official.
He known as it “something I probably wouldn’t have done or maybe gotten away with in a more … organized administration.”
According to Flynn’s earlier authorized group, FBI brokers in his case intentionally didn’t instruct Flynn that any false statements he made might represent a criminal offense, and determined to not “confront” him immediately about something he mentioned that contradicted their data of his wiretapped communications with the Russian envoy.
Representatives for Strzok and Page didn’t instantly reply to InternetNews’ request for remark.
Powell’s submitting is simply the most recent in a collection of motions delivered to the courtroom on behalf of Flynn. Last month, Powell demanded federal prosecutors flip over two cellphones utilized by Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, whose position within the Trump-Russia investigation has lengthy been shrouded in thriller.
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Powell’s protection of Flynn has precipitated an escalating battle with the federal government, with Flynn’s sentencing nonetheless up within the air for his responsible plea. The authorities mentioned in late August that the case was prepared for sentencing, after months of delay. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has set a Dec. 18 sentencing date, although it’s unclear whether or not it could possibly be pushed off once more.
InternetNews’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.