Lawyers for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn argued Tuesday that their client deserved to receive no more than a year of probation and 200 hours of community service for making false statements to federal investigators.
In a document filed in federal court in Washington, Flynn's attorneys said their client's cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller "was not grudging or delayed", but "preceded his guilty plea or any threatened indictment and began very shortly after he was first contacted for assistance by the Special Counsel's office."
"Following extraordinary public service in the United States Army, during which his innovations as a highly decorated intelligence officer saved countless American lives, and a lifetime of faithful devotion to his family and fellow service members and veterans ... a sentence of non-incarceration is both appropriate and warranted," the document said.
Prosecutors working for Mueller said last week that Flynn had offered “substantial assistance” in “several ongoing investigations.” They noted that Flynn had sat for 19 interviews with the special counsel’s office and other Justice Department attorneys and thus was entitled to avoid prison when he is sentenced next week.
The prosecutors' sentencing memo and a heavily redacted supplemental filing did not specify what Mueller’s team learned from Flynn, but they did indicate he had provided “documents and communications” about his time working during the Trump transition period.
Flynn, a retired three-star Army general and the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to making false statements to the FBI with regard to his communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He was fired as national security adviser on Feb. 13 of that year for misleading Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials about his contacts.
The defense memo said Flynn had expressed "genuine contrition for the uncharacteristic error in judgment that brought him before this Court" and expressed a "deep respect for the law ... in his extensive cooperation with the Government's efforts to get to the truth and to enforce the laws."
The 14-page memo was accompanied by 50 letters of support, most of them from current or retired military officers. Flynn's lawyers also attached seven documents related to Flynn's military service, including his 2002 Bronze Star Medal citation.
Since his guilty plea, Flynn has stayed largely out of the public eye and refrained from discussing the Russia investigation despite encouragement from his supporters to take an aggressive stance. In a public statement after his plea, Flynn has said he cooperated with prosecutors because it was in "the best interests of my family and our country."
Flynn also has admitted making false statements about his work as an unregistered foreign agent to benefit the Turkish government. Flynn was under investigation by the Justice Department for that work when he became national security adviser.
As part of Flynn’s plea deal, he agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s office on “any and all matters” deemed relevant. The plea deal said Flynn’s cooperation may include answering questions, taking government-administered polygraph examinations, providing sworn statements and participating in “covert law enforcement activities.”
Prosecutors have until Friday to reply to the filing by Flynn’s attorneys. Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 18, making him the first White House official to be punished in Mueller's ongoing probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.