AP source: Grand jury testimony in Flynn probe put off

AP News
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Posted: Nov 29, 2017 6:56 PM
AP source: Grand jury testimony in Flynn probe put off

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prosecutors working with special counsel Robert Mueller have postponed grand jury testimony related to the private business dealings of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a person familiar with the ongoing investigation into Trump campaign associates and Russian election interference told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The reason for the postponement was not immediately clear, but it comes one week after attorneys for Flynn alerted President Donald Trump's legal team that they could no longer share information about the case. That discussion between lawyers was widely seen as a possible indication that Flynn was moving to cooperate with Mueller's investigation or attempting to negotiate a deal for himself.

An attorney for Flynn, Robert Kelner, did not immediately respond to email and phone messages Wednesday afternoon. Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined comment.

The testimony that had been scheduled for the coming days related to Flynn's firm, Flynn Intel Group, its work with a public relations firm and interactions with congressional staff, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.

Mueller and the FBI have been interested in hearing from employees at the public relations firm, SGR LLC, because of the firm's work with Flynn Intel Group. SGR LLC, which does business as Sphere Consulting, did public relations work on a film Flynn Intel Group was working on about Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. The film was never completed.

Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department in May to oversee an investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The investigation, which produced its first criminal charges last month against three former Trump campaign officials, incorporated an earlier FBI inquiry into Flynn's lobbying and investigative research work on behalf of a Turkish businessman. Flynn's firm was paid $530,000 for the work.

Sphere employees have cooperated for months with Mueller's investigation, including by turning over documents requested by investigators and sitting for voluntary interviews.

An October 2016 meeting that was expected to be the subject of the grand jury testimony has been described as a bait-and-switch carried out on behalf of Flynn's firm.

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As the AP reported in March , Flynn's business partner, Bijan Kian , invited a representative of the House Homeland Security committee to Flynn Intel's offices in Alexandria, Virginia, to discuss secure communications products. But after discussing the products, the session quickly turned into a lobbying pitch that mirrored Turkish government talking points.

Kian and others involved were particularly interested in pushing for congressional hearings to investigate Gulen, whom the Turkish government has blamed for a botched coup and who has been living in exile in Pennsylvania. Gulen has denied any involvement.

Flynn Intel Group's requests for congressional hearings went nowhere.

Flynn disclosed some of the details of the meeting in a filing with the Justice Department earlier this year. According to that filing, an employee of Sphere consulting was present during the meeting.

CNN first reported the postponement.

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