WASHINGTON (CN) – In what the Justice Department called an “extraordinary reversal,” former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn is now claiming he is innocent after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI two years ago.
“He makes this claim despite having admitted his guilt, under oath, before two federal judges (including this Court),” the Justice Department said in a notice filed Tuesday.
The claim that is sure to upend plans to sentence Flynn in December comes after his legal team argued that the government engaged in “conduct so shocking to the conscience and so inimical to our system of justice that it requires the dismissal of the charges [sic] for outrageous government conduct.”
The government now looks to U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is overseeing Flynn’s case in Washington, for how to move forward. The judge ordered the government to file a brief by Nov. 1 and Flynn to file a brief in response by Nov. 4.
Flynn clocked more than 100 hours cooperating with federal investigators after pleading guilty. But after retaining a new legal team back in June, his attorneys began requesting access to classified information and urged Sullivan to slow the pace of proceedings.
“There is other information relevant to the defense that is either classified or being suppressed by the government, not the least of which are the transcripts and recordings of the phone calls that supposedly underpin the charges against Mr. Flynn,” attorneys Sidney Powell and Jesse Binnall, whom Flynn tapped to replace his former attorneys at Covington & Burling, argued in a court document.
Powell confused Sullivan in court in September when she said the documents could exonerate Flynn, just after telling the judge her client was not planning to withdraw his guilty plea.
Sullivan last year expressed his disdain for the former national security adviser, telling Flynn: “Arguably you sold your country out.”