Attorneys for President Donald Trump‘s former national security advisor Michael Flynn are now accusing federal prosecutors of illegally hiding information that could prove their client’s innocence.
In a blistering 14-page motion filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday, Flynn’s attorneys–including Fox News contributor Sidney Powell–questioned the integrity of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s one-time lieutenant Brandon Van Grack.
The motion was filed–with a few redactions–one day after a hearing held to address evidentiary issues related to his December 2017 guilty plea on charges of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about his contacts with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn’s December 2018 sentencing famously blew up after Judge Emmet G. Sullivan bizarrely claimed that Flynn may have committed treason–prompting the defense to request a long postponement. The judge apologized for the remarks. A legal shakeup over the summer eventually resulted in a more combative strategy from the defendant and his attorneys.
Cue this week’s goings on at the U.S. District Court.
In the somewhat redacted motion, Flynn’s legal team accuses Van Grack of outright violating the U.S. Bill of Rights. Per the filing:
Given the material defense counsel has requested, which remains outstanding, Mr. Van Grack’s denial that further Brady material exists is patently absurd. It demonstrates arrogance and utter contempt for the letter and the spirit of this Court’s explicit order, the rule of Brady v. Maryland, and the protections guaranteed to defendants by the U.S. Constitution.
The Brady Rule requires the government to provide criminal defendants with exculpatory evidence favorable to them. Thus, Brady material is constitutionally-mandated information the prosecution is expected to hand over to the defense. The Brady Rule is an extension of the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause and is so named due to the landmark 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case enshrining that right.
Brady violations, unfortunately, are quite commonplace in the U.S. legal system.
BuzzFeed News’ Zoe Tillman reported on the Tuesday hearing held to address Flynn’s Brady motion. Some of the evidence sought by the defendant are “copies of text messages between two onetime members of Mueller’s team,” Tillman noted.
Readers are likely aware of the two Mueller alumni in question: Former FBI employees and stars-and-stripes-crossed lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
During that hearing, Powell argued such evidence would likely show “that the entire prosecution should be dismissed for egregious government misconduct.”
In Flynn’s perhaps longshot bid to have the charges dismissed, however, the defendant has opened the door to withdrawing the plea agreement wherein he agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s long-running–and now defunct–investigation into election interference and obstruction of justice.
In response to questioning by Judge Sullivan, Powell didn’t rule out that such an option was on the table–but saved most of her argumentative ire for the alleged wrongdoing carried out by Van Grack’s prosecution. A formal request for dismissal of the charges against Flynn has yet to be filed.
Judge Sullivan eventually set an October 31 date for a hearing on the accusations about the alleged Brady violations.
But Flynn’s Wednesday motion left little to the imagination as to what line of argument his legal team would likely pursue in the future. Again the filing [emphasis in original]:
[T]he prosecutors exude arrogance in their flat denials of both our request for security clearances and the production of Brady material. Production of obvious Brady material while repeatedly and stoutly denying any such material exists prompts questions of how much more is still outstanding and whether these prosecutors are willing or able to recognize it when they see it. The only alternative explanation is even worse.
[image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]