A federal judge decided Tuesday to delay sentencing Michael Flynn , the former national security adviser of US President Donald Trump , after the defendant confessed he was guilty of lying to the FBI and had cooperated with the investigations of the Russia probe.
The magistrate hearing the case in Washington, Emmet Sullivan, asked the accused if he would prefer to delay being sentenced in order to have more time to complete his cooperation with the authorities, of if he would prefer the sentence to be handed down this Tuesday as originally scheduled. The defense chose a delay.
The parties agreed to have a new hearing next March 13 to assess the situation.
Flynn came to court wearing a dark suit, white shirt and light blue tie and displaying a smile that vanished within the first minutes of the session.
“Arguably you sold your country out,” the judge said about the alleged offenses committed by the former White House adviser, and added “I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain.”
Both the Justice Department and the accused had asked that the sentence for lying to the FBI not include imprisonment, since - according to the investigators - Flynn’s cooperation has been “significant” during his 19 interviews with prosecutors of the special counsel in the Russia probe and of the Justice Department.
On December 29, 2016, then-President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on the Kremlin in response to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election in order to harm Democrat Hillary Clinton in benefit of her rival, Donald Trump, who won the presidency.
According to prosecutors, the team that prepared the transition of power from Obama to Trump asked Flynn to contact then-Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, to avoid a damaging response from Russia to Obama’s sanctions.
The next day, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow would not retaliate against those sanctions.
According to the special counsel, Flynn spoke about his contacts with Russia on several occasions with important members of the Trump team, even phoning them up while they were at the president’s exclusive Mar-a-Lago Club on the southeast Florida coast.
Flynn’s talks with the Russian ambassador took place in December 2016 and touched on Obama’s sanctions and the upcoming vote by the UN Security Council about Israeli settlements.
Flynn held the position of national security adviser for just 25 days, then had to resign for lying to Vice President Mike Pence and other high officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.