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Friday, December 1, 2017

The Michael Flynn False Statements Charge (Expected)

Multiple sources are reporting that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn will enter a guilty plea to at least one false statements federal criminal charge when he appears in Washington, DC federal district court later this morning.

Stay tuned, because more information will come out. But this much is certain: Flynn is making an appearance in federal court this morning and that means he is either being arraigned (and entering a not guilty plea) or pleading guilty to at least one charge.

One federal criminal charge will reportedly be for lying to Federal Bureau of Investigations agents. This is a good reminder what people who are innocent (or think they are innocent) should do

A lying-to-federal-agents charge can be brought under Title 18, Section 1001 of the United States Code, a criminal section which provides that someone who:

"...knowingly and willfully--

 -- falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;

 -- makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation;  or

 -- makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;

shall be fined under this title, [or] imprisoned not more than 5 years..." (Emphasis in bold)

It isn't enough to lie; the lie has to be "material." It also has to be "knowingly and willfully" made.

In a 1995 ruling (opinion written by the late, great Associate Justice Antonin Scalia), the Supreme Court ruled that a material false statement must have  "a natural tendency to influence, or [be] capable of influencing, the decision of the decisionmaking body to which it was addressed."

Now, where did this false statement get made? It might have been very early this year. Flynn reportedly spoke with FBI agents about Russian involvement in last year's presidential election, just days after President Trump was inaugurated. 

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