Flynn Judge Accuses Defense Counsel In Curious Plagiarism Claim

Judge Emmet Sullivan

It is bad enough when a judge refuses to let out your client from a plea deal but it is worse when he then suggests that his lawyer is a plagiarist to boot. That however is what former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his counsel, Sidney Powell, faced in the 92 page order of U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan. Flynn has been trying to get out of his plea bargain in light of new information of improper conduct by the FBI in its Russia investigation as well as exculpatory information regarding his guilt. Many of us have criticized the prosecution of Flynn who pleaded guilty to a single false statement in interviews with the FBI. In addition, Flynn may not want to be sentenced by Sullivan whose last major hearing included false allegations against Flynn and dramatic condemnations. One can certainly understand Sullivan’s refusal to let Flynn get out of a plea that he willingly entered. However, the opinion contained an attack on his counsel that seemed gratuitous and unsupported.

Sidney Powell is a former prosecutor with extensive criminal justice experience. She was the subject of a curious part of the long opinion.

Early on, Judge Sullivan dedicates a separate section to suggest that counsel has committed an unethical act:

A.Ethical Concerns with Mr. Flynn’s Brief

The Court notes that Mr. Flynn’s brief in support of his first Brady  motion lifted verbatim portions from a source without attribution.CompareDef.’s Br., ECF No. 109 at 11-12,15-16, 15 n.21, with Brief of the New York Council of DefenseLawyers et al. as Amici Curiae Supporting Petitioner,Brown v.United States, 566 U.S. 970 (2012) (No. 11-783), 2012 WL 242906at *5-6, *8, *12-13, *12 n.6. In a footnote, Mr. Flynn’s brief merely provides a hyperlink to the “excellent briefing by Amicus [sic] in support of the Petition for Writ of Certiorari in Brown v. United States.” Def.’s Br., ECF No. 109 at 16 n.22.

 The District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct apply to the proceedings in this Court. See LCrR 57.26. Rule8.4(c) provides that “[i]t is professional misconduct for a lawyer to . . . [e]ngage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.” D.C. Rules of Prof’l Conduct R.8.4(c); see In re Ayeni, 822 A.2d 420, 421 (D.C. 2003) (per curiam) (lawyer’s plagiarized brief violated Rule 8.4(c)).“[C]itation to authority is absolutely required when language is borrowed.”United States v. Bowen, 194 F. App’x 393, 402 n.3(6th Cir. 2006);accordLCrR 47(a). “The [C]ourt expects counsel to fully comply with this [C]ourt’s rules and submit work product befitting of pleadings [and briefs] in a federal court.”Kilburn v. Republic of Iran, 441 F. Supp. 2d 74, 77 n.2 (D.D.C.2006).

Wait. Powell cited and had a hyperlink to the source of that material, but it warrants a section accusing her of plagiarism and ethical violations?

It is particularly ironic because I have often faced cut and pastes from prosecutors in briefs. I even had a case where a warrant for electronic surveillance contained a cut and paste that referred to the facts of an entirely different case (it was still signed by the court). I just do not understand why an insufficient citation warranted such a public lashing and suggestion of unethical conduct.

Powell says that “the plagiarism accusation makes no sense.” She maintains that she used her own prior briefings and a brief written by a friend who was in fact cited.

The criticism in the opinion will likely deepen the unease of Flynn in having the sentencing under Judge Sullivan. However, the court said that it will proceed with precisely such a hearing on January 28, 2020.

42 thoughts on “Flynn Judge Accuses Defense Counsel In Curious Plagiarism Claim”

  1. SULLIVAN has demonstrated his EXTREMEBIASED and HATRED of the Defense and Flynn, he is on his way out of this case unless the Appeals Court keeps him on but handcuffs him and orders him to dismiss this case ASAP.

    Sullivan should be fired, step down, or retire for having Extreme Trump Syndrome.

  2. At this juncture – 2020 May. We know that the DOJ has vacated the prosecution having discovered the exculpatory evidence was deliberately withheld, having learned that Gen Flynn’s Guilty Plea was extorted despite exculpatory evidence

    It appears Judge Sullivan’s biased behavior is predicated by one simple thing.
    General Flynn is a high profile white soldier
    Sidney Powell is a White Woman Defense attorney
    President Obama wants Whitey Prosecuted
    One needs to read Obama’s two books “Audacity of Hope” and “Dreams of my father”
    Obama’s presidency distills to one thing “Get Whitey”, “Get Whitey’s Economy”and “Get Whiteys America”.
    For Judge Sullivan’s career ending case this is all about “Get Whitey”
    The judge is tenaciously following the wishes of his ex-President.

    If this were Nazi Germany and Flynn was Jew with exculpatory evidence withheld and the Gestapo vacated the prosecution over world wide embarrassment; Judge Sullivan would none the less continue wanting the General prosecuted for being a Jew.

  3. Excuse me but this affirmative action idiot .Judge Sullivan. has apparently not recognized that FLYNN WAS FRAMED. Comey admitted it! Is this not grounds to throw this case out on its ear and rebuke the FBI , then outwardly have the Court apologize to Flynn .

  4. Will we eventually return to the 19th century? One of my great grandfathers (a sheriff in Yellville, Arkansas) turned over a prisoner accused of murder to relatives of the victim when his wife was in labor. Of course, they promptly hung him.

  5. Affirmative Action Privilege includes Affirmative Action Adjudication. As in life in general, it should be that:

    “It’s Merit That matters.”

    “Crazy Abe” Lincoln admonished that Americans “…can not, then, make them equals…” and what “Crazy Abe” wanted, “Crazy Abe” got, right? Wrong.

    “If all earthly power were given me,” said Lincoln in a speech delivered in Peoria, Illinois, on October 16, 1854, “I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution [of slavery]. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land.” After acknowledging that this plan’s “sudden execution is impossible,” he asked whether freed blacks should be made “politically and socially our equals?” “My own feelings will not admit of this,” he said, “and [even] if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not … We can not, then, make them equals.”

    There is no affirmative action on the football field. Why is there affirmative action in jurisprudence and elsewhere? Because the Communist Manifesto demands it by requiring a classless society.

    P.S. There is an historical figure notorious for his plagiarism, witch Dr. Martin Luther King was. Inexplicably and as a further act acknowledging and supporting Affirmative Action Privilege, King’s “doctoral degree” was not revoked.

    To wit,

    “A committee of scholars appointed by Boston University concluded today that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. plagiarized passages in his dissertation for a doctoral degree at the university 36 years ago.

    “There is no question,” the committee said in a report to the university’s provost, “but that Dr. King plagiarized in the dissertation by appropriating material from sources not explicitly credited in notes, or mistakenly credited, or credited generally and at some distance in the text from a close paraphrase or verbatim quotation.”

    Despite its finding, the committee said that “no thought should be given to the revocation of Dr. King’s doctoral degree,” an action that the panel said would serve no purpose.

    But the committee did recommend that a letter stating its finding be placed with the official copy of Dr. King’s dissertation in the university’s library.

    The four-member committee was appointed by the university a year ago to determine whether plagiarism charges against Dr. King that had recently surfaced were in fact true. Today the university’s provost, Jon Westling, accepted the committee’s recommendations and said its members had “conducted the investigation with scholarly thoroughness, scrupulous attention to detail and a determination not to be influenced by non-scholarly consideration.”

    The dissertation at issue is “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman.” Dr. King wrote it in 1955 as part of his requirements for a doctor of philosophy degree, which he subsequently received from the university’s Division of Religious and Theological Studies.”

    – New York Times, October 11, 1991

  6. “Flynn has been to get out of his plea bargain in light of new information of improper conduct by the FBI….”

    That is the one thing Flynn thru his lawyer has not tried to do, withdraw Michael Flynn’s guilty plea. What Sidney Powell did was throw everything, including the kitchen sink into two briefs that alleged that Govt. hadn’t complied with Brady, that the FBI was corrupt and the case should be dismissed outright.

    She did accomplish pissing off Judge Sullivan.

    In other words Ms Powell, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    In 92 pages Judge Sullivan said not so fast.

    1. He can still move to withdraw his plea. He likely won’t, but he certainly could.

      Who gives a crap if it pisses off Sullivan?

      1. “Who gives a crap if it pisses off Sullivan?”

        The answer to that question is Michael Flynn

        1. Flynn’s fears are that if he withdraws his plea bargain, the Feds will go after his family again (who were immunized in the plea bargain).

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