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Michael Flynn hires combative new lawyer as sentencing looms


In this file photo, President Donald Trump's former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn arrives at federal court on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Michael Flynn has hired a fiery critic of special counsel Robert Mueller as his new lawyer as he heads towards sentencing on his guilty plea in the Russia probe, a move that raises eyebrows about whether he plans to rip up his cooperation deal.

The fired National Security Administration director tapped Sidney Powell to replace his old lawyers who negotiated the cooperation deal and plea agreement with Mueller’s prosecutors.

Powell is a regular figure on Fox News programs attacking the Mueller probe. It’s unclear why Flynn hired Powell when the main task ahead of her would be to complete Flynn’s cooperation and convince the judge to accept the government’s recommendation of lenient treatment.

There is little chance of Flynn being able to rip up his cooperation agreement, and no obvious benefit to him in doing so, since it would leave him exposed to a much harsher sentence.

If Flynn shows signs of failing to live up to the terms of his cooperation agreement, it could harm his chances with Judge Emmet Sullivan, who already suggested he may hit Flynn with prison time for “arguably selling out your country.”

Powell has already asked for a fresh 90-day delay of the sentencing to get up to speed on the case.

Some pundits say Flynn may be angling for a pardon from President Trump, who has repeatedly spoken highly of him, even since he agreed to cooperate with Mueller.

George Papadopolous took a similarly head-scratching legal backflips when he sought to deny key portions of his own testimony about the Russia probe.

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia during President Trump’s transition.