Judge reschedules Michael Flynn sentencing after plea change request

Jan. 16 (UPI) — A federal judge in Washington, D.C., delayed the sentencing hearing for former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Thursday in light of a request to withdraw his guilty plea.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan rescheduled the hearing — which was supposed to take place Jan. 28 — for Feb. 27.

The order came two days after Flynn’s request to change his plea. His lawyers accused prosecutors of breaking their agreement for Flynn’s cooperation when they requested he receive jail time instead of probation.

Flynn, who advised President Donald Trump on national security early in his tenure, pleaded guilty in December 2017 for making a false statement to the FBI as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller‘s high-profile investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The Justice Department originally requested probation for his cooperation but urged a Washington, D.C., judge on Jan. 7 to sentence him to six months in prison, accusing him of being unrepentant of his crimes.

In a court filing Tuesday, Flynn’s lawyers cited the government’s “bad faith, vindictiveness and breach of plea agreement” for the decision to withdraw his plea.

In a sentencing memo filed last week, federal prosecutors said they first suggested probation for Flynn because he initially cooperated with investigators. But that later changed.

“Given the serious nature of the defendant’s offense, his apparent failure to accept responsibility, his failure to complete his cooperation … and the need to promote respect for the law and adequately deter such criminal conduct, the government recommends that the court sentence the defendant within the applicable guidelines range of zero to six months of incarceration,” the memo reads.