Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn will wait another two months to receive a sentence for his false statements to investigators after his defense lawyers agreed to another delay Friday with prosecutors from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office.
Flynn, who pleaded guilty in December to lying to FBI agents about the content of his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak in the presidential transition, had already agreed to two delays in sentencing with Mueller’s prosecutors. The felony charge to which Flynn has pleaded guilty carries a potential five years in prison. Given that this is Flynn’s first offence and his agreement to cooperate with investigators working the “Russia probe,” he is expected to receive significantly less time than that and may avoid incarceration altogether.
Court documents filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia indicate the parties will reconvene to set a date for sentencing no later than August 24. No reason for the delay is apparent from the court order, but such postponements are not unusual in criminal proceedings, generally being granted as a matter of course when both parties agree.
A sentence could still be agreed to, with the consent of District Judge Emmet Sullivan, between Flynn and Mueller’s teams, and Mueller may be delaying that agreement to judge the exact extent of Flynn’s cooperation with the Special Counsel’s Office investigation.
Reports in the winter indicated that Flynn’s team may be considering a withdrawal of his guilty plea and ongoing negotiations to that effect may also have provided some of the rationale for this new delay. Flynn’s supporters have suggested he only entered a guilty plea in the first place to gain Mueller’s assurance that the Special Counsel’s Office would not prosecute members of Flynn’s family.
Finally, Mueller’s team is involved in a number of other prosecutions, including the two high-profile felony trials against one-time Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Given the ongoing nature of his investigations, Mueller is widely expected to seek further inditements as well. The delay in Flynn’s sentencing may reflect an unwillingness on Mueller’s part to present evidence against Flynn that would militate towards a stiffer sentence because he plans on keeping that information confidential for use in other prosecutions.