Funny how Judge Sullivan seemed to be a different person in the Ted Stevens case
Washington D.C. is filled with politicians, bureaucrats and pundits who are outraged by corruption and vow to get to the bottom of each scandal, but ultimately accomplish nothing. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan is a perfect example of such a Washington denizen, a Deep State operative who has up until now been able to conceal his membership in this sorry club until the mask came off in the General Michael Flynn case.
George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley claims, “Judge Sullivan is one of the most liked judges on the bench. He is smart and courteous and even-keeled.” Perhaps it is time for Professor Turley to reevaluate his opinion of the judge.
In April 2009, while presiding over the Sem. Ted Stevens case, Judge Sullivan scolded the prosecution team: “In nearly 25 years on the bench I’ve never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct that I’ve seen in this case.” He ordered an inquiry into the prosecutors’ handling of the case. Stanley M. Brand, a partner at Brand Law Group, P.C. claimed, "This judge’s tolerance was pushed to the limit, and prosecutors are not going to just go on their merry way." When prosecutors failed to produce evidence Sullivan demanded he stated, “It strikes me that this was probably intentional. I find it unbelievable that this was just an error.” Later when the prosecution failed to produce the documents he stated, “That was a court order. That wasn’t a request. I didn’t ask for them out of the kindness of your hearts….Isn’t the Department of Justice taking court orders seriously these days?” He even claimed prosecutors were providing false evidence: “It’s very troubling that the government would utilize records that the government knows were false.” The government knowingly submitted false accounting records to bolster their case.
Like the Flynn case, the Steven case was plagued by FBI corruption. The lead FBI agent in Stevens trial was Mary Beth Kepner. Kepner didn't document all of her interviews so she made them up following the judge's order. She backdated two of her 302s by more than two years, making it appear that they had been prepared the day after the interview. She denied under oath that she had done this. Later when it became impossible to maintain her lie she remarked, "You know, unfortunately, you know, I was disorganized with this, you know, I was overwhelmed and, you know, I lost materials that had, you know, I lost notes, I lost 302s."
What was to outcome of all this malfeasance: obstruction of justice, utilizing records that the government knew were false, backdated 302s, and perjury? Two of the lower members of the prosecution team were suspended without pay: Joseph W. Bottini for 40 days and James A. Goeke for 15 days. Nicolas Marsh who believed he was going to be the scapegoat in the case committed suicide. The supervisors were exonerated. Kepner was still working for the FBI until at least 2014 when she was reportedly “severely disciplined.” Her partner, Chad Joy, who had informed on her was driven from the FBI. The conviction of Senator Stevens handed the Democrats a filibuster proof majority in the U.S. Senate which they used to pass Obamacare. According to Roll Call, “relying on false records and fueled by testimony from a richly rewarded ‘cooperating’ witness… government prosecutors convinced jurors to find him (Stevens) guilty just eight days before the general election which he lost by less than 2 percent of the vote.” In April 2009, Judge Sullivan dismissed Stevens’ conviction.
Judge Sullivan faced some of the same behavior in the Flynn case. Obstruction of justice, perjury, and missing and altered documents. He does not appear to be disturbed about missing documents. He explained about the “lost” FD-302, "[T]hings happen and documents are lost. I mean, it just happens.” However this 302 is crucial. It would have revealed that Flynn was not lying.
Although the original 302 is reportedly “lost” there are likely numerous copies of it on the internet. It is simply a matter of locating them. Peter Strzok and Lisa Page spent over two weeks editing it on the internet. Strozk told Page “I made your edits, and sent them to Joe (likely Joe Pientka the author). I also emailed you an updated 302 . . . hopefully it doesn’t need much more editing." Flynn's attorney Sidney Powell wrote, "Page and Strzok massaged the 302 until McCabe approved it, and it was filed as final on February 15, 2017." Ordinarily an FBI agent is allowed a maximum of five days to prepare such a report.
General Flynn was facing zealous team of prosecutors, a judge who at one point called him a traitor and even his own defense council. Prosecutor Brandon Van Grack made a deal with Flynn's original attorneys at Covington & Burling. If Flynn would plead guilty to making a false statement, the DOJ would not go after his son. Van Grack filed an official plea agreement with the court in which he swore that every deal reached between the prosecution and the defense was contained in writing within that document. Prosecutors are bound by law to disclose all deals and Van Grack lied to the court. Flynn's attorneys hid these documents from Flynn and the court repeatedly.
This probably all could have been avoided if General Flynn had used the Kepner defense. He might have been let off with a slap on the wrist. Of course he would have had to modify it slightly: "You know, unfortunately, you know, I was disorganized with this, you know, I was overwhelmed and, you know, I lost materials that had, you know, I lost notes, I lost 302s." He would just have had to leave out the part of the 302s. Like, you know. That's just how professional FBI agents speak.
John Dietrich is a freelance writer and the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy (Algora Publishing). He has a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from St. Mary’s University. He is retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. He is featured on the BBC's program "Things We Forgot to Remember:" Morgenthau Plan and Post-War Germany.