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Prosecutors recommend no prison time for former national security adviser Michael Flynn

Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- Michael Flynn, a retired Army general who played a key role in Donald Trump's presidential campaign and then served briefly as White House national security adviser, has provided "substantial assistance" to investigators in the Russia case and should be spared prison time for lying to FBI agents, prosecutors told a federal court Tuesday.

Flynn pleaded guilty last December to lying to federal agents about his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition, falsely claiming that they did not discuss U.S. sanctions.

"A sentence that does not impose a term of incarceration ... is appropriate and warranted," prosecutors working for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III wrote in a sentencing memo to U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

Flynn is the only member of Trump's White House team who has been charged in an investigation that the president has relentlessly denounced as a "hoax" and a "witch hunt."

As part of his plea deal, Flynn agreed to cooperate with the special counsel's office, which has so far charged or obtained guilty pleas from 33 individuals, including several of Trump's former senior aides and associates.

Mueller hasn't cited any information provided by Flynn in any of his court proceedings, leaving unclear what type of help he was providing. But on Tuesday prosecutors said Flynn had provided "substantial assistance."

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Defense lawyers will have their own opportunity to make a recommendation to the judge before he is sentenced on Dec. 18.

Flynn, 59, served 33 years in the Army and helped lead high-profile efforts to overhaul military intelligence operations as U.S. forces struggled against insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He later returned to Washington and led the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, but he was pushed out after clashing with other members of President Barack Obama's administration in 2014.

The former lieutenant general became one of Trump's most vocal and visible supporters during the 2016 campaign. At the Republican National Convention, he said Hillary Clinton should be jailed for her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state, leading chants to "lock her up."

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