Special counsel Robert Mueller is recommending no prison time for retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, citing the former national security adviser’s “substantial assistance” in his ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“Given the defendant’s substantial assistance and other considerations set forth,” the special counsel wrote, “a sentence at the low end of the guideline range—including a sentence that does not impose a term of incarceration—is appropriate and warranted.”
Flynn, whose sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 18, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition period from Election Day 2016 to Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. As part of his plea agreement, Flynn agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation.
Under federal guidelines, the retired Army lieutenant general’s crime carries a penalty of up to six months in prison. But court observers say if Flynn satisfactorily cooperated with the special counsel, he could avoid prison time.
Upon learning of Mueller’s sentencing suggestion, a source close to Flynn said his family is relieved and happy tonight that the special counsel is recommending no prison time for him.
“Jail time wouldn’t be a good thing for him,” the source told ABC News.
Mueller has wasted no time bringing into court other cooperating witnesses, such as George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser, and Paul Manafort, once Trump’s campaign chairman, to face penalties for lying to his investigators or not fully cooperating.
Papadopoulos is currently serving a 14-day sentence after a judge denied his 11th-hour appeal to delay a prison sentence. Manafort faces sentencing in two separate cases early next year after his plea agreement deteriorated last month.