I woke up to multiple news reports this morning that former National Security advisor, Michael Flynn, has offered to cooperate with Federal Investigators in return for a grant of immunity. I was watching news coverage and notice that the media is not reporting all of the various factors and steps that have to be taken in order for this to happen. The reporting is very simple. However, the topic is certainly more complex than what is being reported. I want to focus on a couple of things that the media is not talking about.
Before I begin I want you to know that I have been a criminal defense lawyer for almost 25 years. I have represented numerous individuals who have either been facing criminal prosecution in the Federal courts, or were under criminal investigation by the federal government for various crimes. Some of my clients cooperated with Investigators and Prosecutors and were able to avoid criminal prosecution. Other clients agreed to cooperate with Federal Prosecutors and Federal Investigators in return for a reduced sentence in a Federal Criminal prosecution. So I approach this issue as someone who has experience representing people who were granted immunity in return for cooperating with government Investigators and Federal Prosecutors.
The first issue that I wanted to discuss is whether Flynn’s request for immunity means that he has something to hide. While his request for immunity may mean that he has reason to fear criminal prosecution, the mere request by him and his lawyers for immunity in return for talking to Investigators does not necessarily mean that he has anything to hide. It may simply mean that he has a good lawyer. Any lawyer representing anyone who wants to talk to Federal Investigators, or Federal Prosecutors would be committing malpractice if they did not try to get an agreement from the Prosecutors and Investigators that anything their client says to them cannot be used against their client in a criminal prosecution. Even if the lawyer believes their client when they say that they did nothing wrong, they would be crazy to put their entire faith in their client being 100% truthful with them. Plus, the lawyer does not know what evidence the feds have against their client. The job of a criminal defense attorney is to protect their client from the known and the unknown. As a lawyer, you cannot read your client’s mind. Therefore, the best way to protect your client when they are voluntarily talking to Federal Investigators and Federal Prosecutors is with a grant of immunity.