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

Image: Former national security adviser Flynn arrives for sentencing hearin
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn exits a vehicle as he arrives for his sentencing hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington on Dec. 18, 2018. Copyright Jonathan Ernst Reuters file
By Tom Winter with NBC News Politics
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The DOJ recommended earlier this month that Flynn be sentenced for up to six months of prison time.


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

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

Flynn's lawyers primarily cites the changes in the government's sentencing memorandum.

The filing by Flynn now needs the judge to sign off on the withdrawal of his appeal. It is possible that the judge could reject his motion and the guilty plea stands.

Should the judge accept his request, there will likely be another 30-day delay before there are next steps in the case which will likely result in a trial.

Flynn pleaded guilty two years ago to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. during the Trump 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, recommending probation instead of prison time.

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

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