Prosecutors Consider Michael Flynn A Witness, Not A Co-Conspirator, At Ex-Business Partners Trial
Chuck Ross | Investigative Reporter
- Michael Flynn plans to testify at a trial for his former business partner, who faces charges related to his lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government.
- A prosecutor handling the case of Bijan Rafiekian, the former Flynn associate, said at a hearing Thursday Flynn is considered a witness in the case, and not a co-conspirator.
- The prosecutor also said Flynn “was aware” the Turkish government was somehow involved in a public relations and lobbying campaign that also involved Rafiekian and Turkish businessman, Ekim Alptekin.
Federal prosecutors offered a preview Thursday of Michael Flynns role at the upcoming trial of his former business partner, saying in a court hearing that the former national security adviser is considered a witness rather than a co-conspirator in a secret Turkish lobbying campaign involving his consulting firm.
Flynn still plans to testify against his former partner, Bijan Rafiekian, assistant U.S. attorney James P. Gillis said at a hearing in Alexandria, Virginia. Rafiekian, who was an executive at Flynns consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, was indicted Dec. 12, 2018, on charges that he acted as a foreign agent of Turkey.
His trial is tentatively scheduled to start July 15.
Gillis said in court Thursday that Flynn “was aware” the Turkish government was somehow involved in a public relations and lobbying campaign aimed against Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric and political foe of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to The Washington Post. (RELATED: Michael Flynns Business Partners Charged In Covert Turkish Lobbying Scheme)
But Gillis said: “We do not contend that General Flynn was a part of that conspiracy.”
Gillis also said Flynn “is going to go well beyond” what has been revealed in court documents when he testifies at Rafiekians trial.
Rafiekian, who also uses the last name Kian, was indicted along with Flynn Intel Groups client, Ekim Alptekin. In addition to charges that they acted as unregistered foreign agents, Rafiekian and Alptekin have been charged with making false statements on registration documents with the Justice Department. Prosecutors also allege they took part in an $80,000 kickback scheme.
Flynn has cooperated with prosecutors in the case as part of a plea deal he entered with the special counsels investigation Dec. 1, 2017.
Flynn Intel Group and Alptekins firm, Inovo BV, signed a $600,000 contract in August 2016 to mount a public relations and lobbying campaign against Gulen.
U.S. based cleric Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 29, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
The Daily Caller first reported Flynn Intel Groups link to Inovo BV on Nov. 11, 2016, after investigating the origins of an op-ed that Flynn published at The Hill on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2016. Flynn called on the U.S. government to extradite Gulen, who lives in exile in the U.S.
Lobbying disclosure forms filed with Congress showed Flynn Intel Group was lobbying on behalf of Inovo BV, which was registered in the Netherlands to Alptekin. Alptekin vehemently denied to The Daily Caller News Foundation and other news outlets at the time that the Turkish government was involved in his hiring of Flynn Intel Group. He also said he played no role in creating the op-ed, and said he would have advised Flynn against publishing the piece if he had the chance.
But Flynn, Rafiekian, and Alptekin all filed retroactive registrations March 7, 2017, under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) for their work on behalf of the Turkish government.
The registration documents revealed that in addition to the op-ed, Flynn Intel Group sought to create a documentary portraying Gulen as a terrorist. Flynns firm also planned to use former FBI officials and other investigators to recommend criminal charges against Gulen.
Rafiekian also arranged a meeting with the House Homeland Security Committee. Alptekin set up a meeting Sept. 19, 2016, between Flynn and Kian and two high-ranking Turkish government officials during their visit to the UN General Assembly.
Prosecutors have produced emails that show Alptekin told Rafiekian and Flynn that TuRead More – Source