Posted by: Ray Brescia | December 19, 2018

When Fake News Faced the Music


Michael Flynn’s lawyers made a curious choice.  In their submissions regarding their client’s sentencing, where even the government had agreed that their client should not receive jail time, they choose the “non-apology-apology” path.  Worse yet, they seemed to echo the “Witch Hunt” party line more common in the President’s Twitter rants than within the dignity of a court proceeding that could lead to imprisonment.  Instead of playing it safe, and contrite, Flynn’s lawyers chose to cast aspersions on the FBI, suggest their client was duped and entrapped, and explicitly named agents who have been the constant object of right-wing fever dreams in an attempt to have it both ways: keep their client out of jail while making it appear like he was the victim.  Yesterday,  Emmet G. Sullivan, the federal judge due to sentence Flynn, was having none of it and asked pointed questions of the retired general, making him face the music and essentially disavow the positions his lawyers had taken.  The lawyers, appropriately, fell on their swords and admitted the decision to choose their approach with respect to the sentencing memorandum was theirs and should not reflect on their client poorly nor affect the judge’s sentencing decision of him.

Lawyers are not perfect. They are allowed to make tactical mistakes when their choices are the product of reasoned and professional judgments based on what they consider to be in the best interest of their client.  When Fake News becomes your guide as a lawyer and officer of the court, however, it’s time to re-think the strategy.

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