Judge orders discovery after Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to FBI
The federal judge presiding in the criminal case against Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser to President Trump, has ordered special counsel Robert Mueller to turn over discovery in the case to Flynn's lawyers.
This is not a typical move since discovery is usually ordered while a charge is pending and not after a guilty plea. That said, it is not unusual if the defendant, in this case Flynn, is considering filing a motion to withdraw his guilty plea or filing an appeal or filing a petition for relief from conviction.
Judge Emmett G. Sullivan issued his order on Friday, directing federal prosecutors to produce to Flynn’s lawyers “any evidence in its possession that is favorable to defendant and material either to defendant’s guilt or punishment”
This disclosure is required under a case called "Brady v. Maryland," a U.S. Supreme Court case which requires prosecutors to disclose any evidence tending to show the defendant is innocent, or which would tend to reduce the sentence or would tend to prove a witness is lying.
Trump's cadre of media talkers immediately began hinting that this order showed something was amiss with Flynn's plea, but there are at least 50 different reasons for a judge to do this. This analysis by Trump supporters is just media posturing.
Criminal defense lawyers know the value of "Brady material" in cases and often have to fight both prosecutors and judges to get disclosure of the evidence. Federal courts are usually more rigid in mandating "Brady" disclosures.