More unusual news has been coming out of the trial of former Flynn Intel Group (FIG) and Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn (Ret.) business partner Bijan Kian (“Rafiekian” in court filings). A series of motions have been filed by Kian’s attorneys based on grounds for a new trial. One of the motions centers around classified communications the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) claims to be in possession of between Gen. Flynn and FIG client K. Ekim Alptekin.
The specific issue at question involves a document that was provided to Kian’s defense on the eve of the trial and entered into evidence as Defense Exhibit 66 or “DX66”. The document was simply a one sentence summary stating the U.S. government was in possession of multiple classified intercepts directly between Flynn and Alptekin that Kian was not a party in. The intercepts showed an existing relationship and efforts by Alptekin to influence the Trump campaign on behalf of the government of Turkey and made no reference to the work of the Flynn Intel Group.
The United States government is in possession of multiple independent pieces of information relating to the Turkish government’s efforts to influence United States policy on Turkey and Fethullah Gulen, including information relating to communications, interactions, and a relationship between Ekim Alptekin and Michael Flynn and Ekim Alptekin’s engagement of Michael Flynn because of Michael Flynn’s relationship with an ongoing presidential campaign without any reference to the defendant or FIG.From the transcript of a Jul 2020 motion hearing for access to classified information in the trial of Bijan Kian
Upon receiving the one sentence summary, Kian’s defense filed a motion for immediate access to review the classified information. Kian was being charged as part of an alleged criminal conspiracy to work as an illegal foreign agent on behalf of the government of Turkey without properly disclosing the relationship to the DOJ along with Flynn and Alptekin. A prior relationship between Flynn and Alptekin that was unrelated to FIG and which Kian was not aware of, could amount to exculpatory evidence for Kian.
This news must have either been shocking or not believable for Kian personally. Keep in mind he was a longtime political ally and business partner with Gen. Flynn, and had a close personal friendship with Alptekin dating well back before any commercial engagement with FIG; even spending Christmas together with their families.
TWP reached out for comment from K. Ekim Alptekin regarding the allegations made in the one sentence summary of DX66. With respect to the timing of the disclose by the government on the very eve of the trial and its impact, Alptekin stated,
I seem to recall it was the day the trial started. It fundamentally shifted the behavior of Bijan’s lawyers in terms of their duties towards me in terms of the joint defence agreement we had. After this statement they seemed to think there were issues that could explain why the Mueller people were so aggressive that they were left out.K. Ekim Alptekin in response to TWP request for comment
The timing of the DOJ’s disclosure right on the eve of the trial completely upended the legal strategies of all three parties (Kian, Alptekin and Flynn) and put their legal defense teams at odds with one another. An apparent “divide and conquer” strategy by the Mueller team.
The DOJ contended that the classified information only pertained to Flynn and Alptekin, and had no bearing on Kian’s case. However, right before the trial was about to begin, the DOJ shifted their narrative in regards to Flynn’s part in this case from being a potential witness to an as yet unindicted co-conspirator. This was right around the time Flynn’s case in front Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of alleged false statements to the FBI related to his call with Russian Ambassador Kislyak was beginning to fall apart after Flynn had fired Covington & Burling LLP (Covington) and brought on Sidney Powell. This left the Mueller Special Counsel prosecutors and the rest of the Russiagate cabal scrambling to make any case they could against Gen. Flynn.
The judge in the case “took the request under advisement” and stated he would revisit the issue of disclosure of classified information to Kian’s defense team should developments in the case warrant it.
Kian’s trial went on without defense access to the classified DX66 information and went very badly for the DOJ as TWP has covered in detail in prior reporting; with Mueller Team prosecutors sometimes having to go into damage control mid-witness. The trial went so badly in fact, Judge Anthony J. Trenga would wind up granting a Motion of Acquittal as well as conditionally granting 4 separate Motions for New Trial only to be overturned by an egregiously partisan decision by the 4th Circuit Appellate Court after President Trump left office.
The prosecutors in Kian’s original trial would hint at the alleged classified communications summarized in DX66 during trial, but waited until their last possible interaction with the jury to make direct reference to it during the rebuttal to Kian’s closing argument.
Transparency. As a nation, we value transparency. What about Mr. Flynn’s mysterious relationship with Alptekin that you heard about this morning that is now in evidence as Defense Exhibit 66? It’s only a sentence long, but you really ought to have a look at it.
(Repeats DX66 one sentence summary)
— and here’s the killer — without any reference, without any reference to the defendant or the Flynn Intel Group.
Read that carefully. It makes your head spin. We’ve got lots of secrets, lots of bits of information about Alptekin and Flynn and what they were doing, but we’re not going to tell you. We’ve got them, but we’re not going to tell them. We don’t want you to know. We’re a nation that values transparency. Perhaps. I hope we do. In this case, not so much.From the transcript of the Jul 2020 closing argument in the trial of Bijan Kian
Well that’s one helluva statement. Effectively saying (paraphrasing), “The U.S. government has evidence of all this bad stuff Flynn and Alptekin were doing separately for the Turkish government outside of the FIG contract. We can’t show you or even tell you what it is. And it’s got nothing to do with this 70 year-old man here on trial for the remainder of his natural life. But trust us it’s bad. Whew brother is it bad.”
TWP asked Alptekin about the allegations made by the federal prosecutor and he offered a strongly worded and unequivocal denial.
Lt. Gen. Flynn and I have not been in any contact after the election so it is simply impossible for the U.S. government to be in the possession of such evidence as claimed by the prosecution.
And furthermore any communication we had before that was always 100% above board and did not include a single word that would in any way amount to something illegal or even merely unethical.K. Ekim Alptekin in response to TWP question about the DOJ closing argument in the trial of Bijan Kian
TWP followed up on Alptekin’s prior response and asked if there have been any communications directly with Flynn before Election Day 2016 that was of a material nature (eg. beyond just exchanging pleasantries) that Bijan Kian would not have been a party to or been aware of? Alptekin again offered a forceful denial.
No, that is not possible. Whatever they have is either Gülenists giving false testimony or something else, but certainly not communication between Lt. Gen. Flynn and myself that in any way would strengthen the prosecution’s case.
They abused the trust that American citizens fulfilling their jury duty feel towards institutions such as the FBI and the Department of Justice by making that statement on the eve of the trial. I can think of no other purpose than to cloud the judgement of the jury and the court.K. Ekim Alptekin in response to TWP question about the DOJ closing argument in the trial of Bijan Kian
So what could have made the Mueller team take such a risky move? The statement was highly prejudicial, not supported by the evidence entered into the record, and by the government’s own admission did not involve Bijan Kian who was the only person on trial at the time. Frankly, I’m surprised the judge did not grant a mistrial on the spot. There’s two possible reasons:
A. The prosecutors believed their case was so weak and had gone so poorly, they felt they needed to throw up a “hail mary”. They knew they had a “hanging jury” in Arlington in Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA); a Washington D.C. suburb just across the Potomac. DC-area juries are notoriously partisan against Republicans and any Trump administration official. They might just have been trying to make sure they had the rope to hang Kian in case if there were any lingering doubts.
B. The more likely reason however was to simply smear Gen. Flynn. As noted earlier and TWP’s prior reporting, the case against Flynn about allegedly lying to the FBI about details about his call with Russian Ambassador Kislyak was falling apart. Major Spygate plotters were desperately trying to find a way to still “get Flynn” that might include then former Vice President Joe Biden’s or his family personally tampering in this same case against Bijan Kian.
Prosecutors have broad ranging prosecutorial immunity that makes it nearly impossible to sue them for official actions taken in court proceedings including defamation. Likewise, the media cannot be held liable for reporting on statements made during court proceedings. This tactic had already been infamously used just months earlier when Judge Sullivan openly questioned federal prosecutors if they had considered charging Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn (Ret.) with “treason” despite an impeccable 33 year career in the United States Army and who has been described as “the top military intelligence officer of his generation”.
This statement was likely just made up out of whole cloth to be read into the record so Deep State media hacks like Rachel Maddow could throw it up on their chyron and plaster it all over the airwaves to further smear Gen. Flynn, and by extension President Donald Trump. The government was willing to risk losing the conviction of Kian and possibly Alptekin because they were only targets of convenience and collateral damage.
Judge Trenga has granted Kian’s legal team an extension in order to rule on the Motion to Disclose Classified Material. The government is expected to respond in the next few weeks, and Trenga is expected to rule sometime in October.
This opens up a very interesting dilemma for the government. If what Alptekin says is true, and Trenga orders the government to produce the underlying intelligence to Kian’s defense team, does the government even have anything to provide? Could it possibly live up to the hype of “lots of secrets, lots of bits of information” that will “make your head spin” and is so awful the jurors should thank the government for not subjecting them to seeing it for themselves?
Is there any reason to believe the government actually has anything of value? Given the FBI and DOJ’s egregious conduct both in this trial and Flynn’s trial in front of Sullivan, why would anyone think they actually have “the goods” this time? And if they did have this evidence, why in God’s name would they have not released it or leaked it out in order to further damage Flynn’s reputation? What could they possibly be waiting for?
The answer is there is nothing. Gen. Flynn was not conspiring with Alptekin behind the scenes to work as a secret agent for Turkey. Like everything else in the Flynn case, they made it up. If Trenga grants the Motion to Disclose Classified Material, the DOJ is in a real bind. They are either going to have to produce or fabricate trivial underlying evidence, suddenly just drop this case, or be forced into admitting they never had anything to begin with.
It will be something to watch for the next few months.
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