The special counsel’s filing came a day after the judge presiding over Flynn’s case ordered the special counsel to submit documents related to Flynn’s interview with the FBI. Two of those documents, known as “302s,” are included in the government’s Friday afternoon filing, though both are heavily redacted.
The order fueled speculation that U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan was looking for more information about the conditions surrounding Flynn’s January 2017 interview with the FBI.
In their sentencing memo filed earlier this week, Flynn’s lawyers cited ex-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who said he told Flynn at the time of that interview that “the quickest way to get this done was” for him to speak with agents by himself without a lawyer present.
Flynn’s team also said the agents didn’t provide him “with a warning of the penalties” for lying to the FBI.
The new details about Flynn’s interview with investigators incensed some of his supporters, who argue that the FBI engaged in tactics akin to “entrapment.” Trump weighed in, too, telling reporters Thursday that “it’s a great thing that the judge is looking into that situation” by ordering Mueller’s team to turn over more documents about the interview.
Other legal experts dispute that conclusion, however. David Weinstein, a defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, said that while it’s possible that some “trickery” by the FBI may have been at play, the agents were under no requirement to read Flynn his rights before questioning him.
“My takeaway: He was sitting down with FBI agents. He should be prepared to tell the truth,” Weinstein said.
Mueller made the same point in the court filing Friday. A veteran U.S. official such as Flynn “does not need to be warned it is a crime to lie to federal agents to know the importance of telling them the truth,” the special counsel said.
Flynn was “undoubtedly was aware, in light of his ‘many years’ working with the FBI, that lying to the FBI carries serious consequences,” the filing added.
The retired lieutenant general’s sentencing hearing is set for next Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET in Washington, D.C. federal court.
In prior sentencing documents, Flynn’s lawyers and the special counsel had both recommended a light sentence for the highly decorated U.S. Army veteran.