Michael Flynn moves to withdraw guilty plea after government flips on prison time

Attorneys for former national security adviser Michael Flynn filed papers Tuesday to withdraw his guilty plea after the government indicated that it would no longer pursue a lenient sentence.

The Justice Department, in a reversal of its original position, recommended earlier this month that Flynn be sentenced to up to six months in prison in a case that began with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

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Flynn’s attorneys primarily cited the changes in the government’s sentencing memorandum.

The judge must sign off for the withdrawal of Flynn’s plea to go through. It is possible that the judge could reject his motion and let the plea stand.

Should the judge accept Flynn’s request, there will likely be another 30-day delay before next steps that would likely lead to a trial.

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Flynn pleaded guilty two years ago to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during Donald Trump’s presidential transition. A year ago, the government said Flynn deserved credit for admitting his misconduct and for cooperating with prosecutors in investigating his former business partner. It recommended probation instead of prison time.

But prosecutors now say he stopped admitting that he had lied to the FBI.

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