Defense seeks disclosure of Michael Flynn interviews
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Defense lawyers for a one-time business partner of former national security adviser Michael Flynn say Flynn has lied so often that the government can’t possibly have fulfilled its legal obligation to disclose all of his misstatements.
At a hearing Friday in federal court in Alexandria, though, prosecutors said they’ve more than met their disclosure obligations.
Flynn’s former partner, Bijan Kian, is facing trial for illegal lobbying on behalf of Turkey. Kian and Flynn were pushing the U.S. to expel a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania, Fethullah Gulen, who is a nemesis of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Kian’s lawyers say they expect Flynn will be the key witness at Kian’s trial, and they’ll need to impeach Flynn’s credibility as a witness. Flynn has already pleaded guilty as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to making false statements, and Kian’s lawyers say they know more about Flynn’s lies from the public record than they do from what the government has disclosed from its files.
Prosecutors have said they have fulfilled their responsibility to provide information from their Flynn files that could be helpful to the defense. Indeed, Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Gillis said prosecutors have provided even more information that they’re required to from notes that FBI agents have taken in their interviews of Flynn since he began cooperating with authorities.
But Gillis said Kian’s lawyers should not be given carte blanche to “frolic through everything the Office of Special Counsel has produced” regarding Flynn. He said Flynn’s statements on some topics are sensitive and are part of ongoing investigations, including investigations being done outside the special counsel’s office.
Kian’s lawyers, though, said that they deserve to know about lies Flynn has told even if they do not tie directly to the Kian case, because they can be used to impeach his credibility as a witness.
“A lie is a lie. A bad act is a bad act,” defense lawyer Mark MacDougall said.
The judge at Friday’s hearing said he’s confident prosecutors will make the necessary disclosures. But he did order defense lawyers to make a list of specific categories where they feel they are entitled to more information, and ordered prosecutors to review it to see if additional disclosures are warranted.