Via Fox News:
A federal judge on Tuesday delayed sentencing once again for former national security adviser Michael Flynn — a surprise decision at a dramatic hearing where the judge tore into the defendant and even questioned whether Flynn committed treason before walking his comments back.
The delay came after Flynn’s attorneys initially declined an offer Tuesday from U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to delay the sentencing on charges of making false statements to the FBI, amid the judge’s questions over Flynn’s cooperation in a separate case involving illegal lobbying for Turkey. After Sullivan tore into the defendant and warned he couldn’t guarantee that Flynn wouldn’t get jail time, the defense asked for a sentencing delay.
Sullivan suggested a conference hearing for Flynn on March 13.
“General Flynn has held nothing back in regards to the special counsel’s investigation,” Flynn’s lawyer told the court, saying the case involving lobbying for Turkey is the only other area in which Flynn could be of further assistance to prosecutors.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the prosecution told Sullivan that Flynn’s cooperation played a role in the indictment this week of two Flynn associates charged with illegally lobbying for Turkey without properly registering under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). They said Flynn could have been indicted in that case had he not cooperated.
Tuesday’s hearing was meant for the judge to sentence Flynn after he pleaded guilty more than a year ago to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador. As part of that plea, he agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
But after the hearing began, Sullivan tore into Flynn for his “very serious” false statement plea, as well as other alleged misdeeds. The judge asked prosecutors if Flynn could have been charged with treason, telling Flynn “arguably, you sold your country out.”
“I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain for this criminal offense,” Sullivan said.
After a brief recess, Sullivan clarified his scathing statements, prompting the prosecutors to note Flynn’s work as a foreign agent occurred before he took a job at the White House. He also walked back his treason comments, saying he wasn’t suggesting Flynn committed treason, but was “just curious.”
“After looking at the definition of treason, we have no reason to believe he committed treason,” prosecutors said.
The hearing also came as the FBI is facing mounting criticism from Trump allies over its handling of the original Flynn interview that led to the false-statement charge, after it was revealed bureau leaders discouraged Flynn from having a lawyer present and some inside the FBI had doubts about whether he intentionally lied. Mueller’s team defended investigators’ actions, but also urged a lenient sentence.
Ahead of the hearing, Mueller’s team recommended that Flynn be spared jail time, citing his cooperation with the special counsel probe as part of a deal with prosecutors in December 2017.