The judge overseeing the prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn ordered the Justice Department to swear that FBI records weren’t altered beyond the accidental attachment of yellow sticky notes indicating estimated dates for the documents.
Attorney General William Barr’s Justice Department filed the documents in federal court in Washington in support of its request to drop the Flynn prosecution. The photocopies of hand-written notes by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok, the onetime agent who started the 2016 probe into Russian election interference, accidentally included the attached post-its containing the dates.
After the notes were made public in the court docket, both McCabe and Strzok alerted the court that they hadn’t included the dates. The government has said the notes “were otherwise unaltered” but U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said he wants assurances.
Sullivan on Friday gave the Justice Department until Oct. 26 to submit declarations “pursuant to penalty of perjury” affirming the authenticity of the evidence, noting that “the government has acknowledged that altered FBI records have been produced by the government and filed on the record in this case.”
Flynn twice pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador in 2016, but later retracted his guilty plea. The Justice Department now argues the case against him was cooked up by FBI staff, including McCabe and Strzok, who sought to undermine President Donald Trump’s administration. The U.S. has pointed to the notes to support its argument as Sullivan weighs dismissal.
McCabe has argued the FBI is distorting his notes and taking them out of context.
The U.S. and Flynn have been clashing with Sullivan ever since the judge refused to rubber-stamp the Justice Department’s surprise motion to dismiss the case in May. A former judge who was selected by Sullivan as a so-called friend of the court to argue against dismissal has argued it was a politically corrupt effort to help a Trump ally.
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