Transfer to Drop Michael Flynn Cost Reverberates in Bijan Kian’s Case

WASHINGTON — Attorneys for a former enterprise companion of President Trump’s former nationwide safety adviser Michael T. Flynn who was acquitted on prices of unlawful overseas lobbying have requested the Justice Division to desert an attraction of the case, saying the investigation was intertwined with the prosecution of Mr. Flynn that the division is searching for to drop.

The request by the legal professionals for Mr. Flynn’s former enterprise affiliate, Bijan Kian, who additionally goes by the title Bijan Rafiekian, is the newest fallout from Lawyer Common William P. Barr’s transfer final month to withdraw a cost of mendacity to investigators in opposition to Mr. Flynn after a public marketing campaign by Mr. Trump and his allies. Former regulation enforcement officers have condemned Mr. Barr’s effort, which a judge is now scrutinizing, as additional politicizing the historically unbiased Justice Division.

In a letter to Jeffrey B. Jensen, the federal prosecutor appointed to evaluate the Flynn case, Mr. Kian’s legal professionals argued that due to his findings, the prosecution of their shopper “rests on way more uncertain grounds.”

“If the identical evaluation that yielded these conclusions with regard to Flynn is utilized to the federal government’s strategy” to Mr. Kian, “there could be little doubt {that a} considerably comparable conclusion should be reached,” the legal professionals wrote final month, in keeping with a copy of the letter obtained by The New York Instances.

A spokesman for prosecutors in Northern Virginia, the place Mr. Kian was tried, declined to remark. A Justice Division spokeswoman didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Consultant Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the Home Judiciary Committee, stated on Tuesday that he and different panel members would file their very own temporary within the Flynn case, accusing Mr. Barr of improperly interfering on Mr. Trump’s behalf.

Mr. Nadler additionally stated he would use Congress’s spending energy to attempt to reduce funding for a lot of of Mr. Barr’s pet initiatives, a risk that will transfer the legal professional common greater than a subpoena however could possibly be exhausting to ship on. Mr. Nadler additionally stated his committee would hear testimony from Justice Division whistle-blowers and different former officers. He didn’t title them.

Mr. Flynn was a central determine within the prosecution of Mr. Kian. A jury convicted Mr. Kian of secretly lobbying on behalf of Turkey final 12 months, however a decide threw out the case, saying prosecutors did not current sufficient proof to maintain their prices. Prosecutors appealed the decide’s ruling, saying it was riddled with authorized errors.

As he pleaded responsible to mendacity to the F.B.I. about his conversations with a Russian diplomat, Mr. Flynn additionally admitted that he had violated overseas lobbying legal guidelines whereas working with Mr. Kian, although prosecutors agreed to not pursue these prices of their plea settlement with Mr. Flynn.

As a part of that deal, Mr. Flynn agreed to testify in opposition to Mr. Kian. However then Mr. Flynn abruptly modified his story on the eve of Mr. Kian’s trial, blaming his earlier legal professionals for submitting inaccurate overseas lobbying disclosure types with out his data. The transfer was a blow to the prosecution’s case.

The about-face was a part of Mr. Flynn’s broader reversal. He moved to withdraw his responsible plea this 12 months, claiming he by no means lied to the F.B.I. about a number of calls with Sergey I. Kislyak, who was then the Russian ambassador to america, and that he merely didn’t recall what he stated through the conversations. Mr. Barr assigned Mr. Jensen, the highest federal prosecutor in St. Louis, to evaluate the matter.

Mr. Jensen really useful the cost be dropped after discovering paperwork and different proof that the Justice Division stated confirmed that the F.B.I. lacked enough purpose to query Mr. Flynn about his calls with Mr. Kislyak. In figuring out that Mr. Flynn’s lies weren’t materials to an ongoing counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s interference within the 2016 election, the division reversed its place of two years on the matter.

Of their movement to drop the case in opposition to Mr. Flynn, prosecutors argued that the “frail and shifting justifications for its ongoing probe of Mr. Flynn, in addition to the irregular process that preceded his interview, means that the F.B.I. was wanting to interview Mr. Flynn no matter any underlying investigation.”

Mr. Kian’s legal professionals seized on that reasoning to counsel that his prosecution was additionally misguided. They known as it “the direct progeny of the investigation and charging of Flynn — a course of that has now been uncovered as essentially corrupt.”

Although the federal government’s movement to drop the Flynn case doesn’t point out his lies about his work for Turkey, Mr. Kian’s legal professionals stated the instances have been inseparable. Additionally they prompt that Mr. Trump’s affect contributed to Mr. Barr’s choice to withdraw the cost in opposition to Mr. Flynn.

“Political notoriety and the love of the president should not affect — a lot much less play the dispositive position in — how the Division of Justice makes selections that go to the guts of the ideas of federal prison prosecution,” they wrote.

The legal professionals added: “The prosecution of Rafiekian is a direct consequence of the federal government misconduct uncovered in your evaluate of Flynn’s responsible plea.”

Mr. Kian was charged in 2018 with conspiracy to violate lobbying legal guidelines and failure to register as a overseas agent. He was indicted, together with one other man, Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish-Dutch businessman, as a part of a federal investigation into Turkey’s secret 2016 lobbying marketing campaign to strain america to expel Fethullah Gulen, a rival of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

Prosecutors accused the 2 males of searching for to hide that Turkish authorities officers have been directing the mission, saying that they permitted the price range and Mr. Alptekin often up to date them. The boys paid Mr. Flynn’s agency, Flynn Intel Group, $530,000 for work on the hassle.

Prosecutors start analyzing whether or not Mr. Flynn was working as a lobbyist for Turkey after he wrote an op-ed article for The Hill newspaper on Election Day 2016 attacking Mr. Gulen as a “radical Islamist” and a “shady Islamic mullah.” Individuals who work to affect the federal government on behalf of overseas governments are required to reveal their work to the Justice Division, and Mr. Flynn had not.

Mr. Kian was convicted after a brief trial, however a decide later threw out the fees, saying in a prolonged opinion that prosecutors offered “no proof that the op-ed had been requested by the Turkish authorities.”

Of their letter on Might 22 to Mr. Jensen, Mr. Kian’s legal professionals railed on the authorities’s choice to maneuver ahead with the case after Mr. Flynn was dropped as a witness.

“This weird sequence of occasions makes clear that the prosecution and purported cooperation of Flynn as the only and unique supply of the choice to cost Bijan Rafiekian was improperly managed and fatally flawed,” they wrote.

Mr. Kian’s legal professionals additionally stated that prosecutors ought to have offered labeled info that they stated that they had about Mr. Flynn’s communications with Mr. Alptekin and that preserving it from the protection was unfair to Mr. Kian.

“The prosecutors tried to make use of this apparently exculpatory proof in opposition to Rafiekian by making the blanket assertion that the undisclosed details — identified solely to the federal government — would additional inculpate the defendant,” they wrote.

Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.

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