Former U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn has pleaded with a federal judge to spare him jail time for lying to FBI agents, saying he takes responsibility for an "uncharacteristic error in judgment.''
Flynn’s lawyers are requesting that he receive no more than one year of probation and 200 hours of community service, according to a memo filed by Flynn’s defense team.
The request comes about one year after Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of lying to FBI agents about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the US during the presidential transition period.
As part of a plea deal, he agreed at the time to cooperate with the Russia investigation, led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, into allegations of collusion between Moscow and the 2016 election campaign of President Donald Trump.
In a surprise move last week, Mueller recommended Flynn serve no prison time, citing his “substantial assistance” in the ongoing probe.
“As the Government has made clear, his cooperation was not grudging or delayed," said the memo written by attorneys Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony.
"Rather, it preceded his guilty plea or any threatened indictment and began shortly after he was first contacted for assistance by the Special Counsel’s Office.”
Mueller’s office has said that Flynn has had 19 meetings with investigators; enough to make him entitled to avoid prison when he is sentenced next week.
Flynn will become the first White House official punished in the Russia probe.
Federal sentencing guidelines call for Flynn to serve up to six months in prison and face as much as a $9,500 fine.
Flynn, who served in a high-profile role on the Trump campaign before becoming the president’s national security adviser, has long been seen as a valuable witness in the Mueller investigation.
Trump has repeatedly denied that people close to him coordinated with Russia, calling Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt.” Moscow has also denied any interference in U.S. elections.
Congressional Democrats and other Trump critics fear that newly appointed acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, a Trump loyalist, could fire Mueller or undermine the investigation by cutting off its funding.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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