mueller time

Report: Michael Flynn Owes Around $5 Million in Legal Fees

Michael Flynn arrives for his sentencing hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on December 18, 2018. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Since December 2017, former national security adviser Michael Flynn has provided what Special Counsel Robert Mueller called “substantial assistance” to multiple investigations on the Trump campaign’s reported contacts with Russia. Fortunately for Flynn, his plea deal and extended cooperation have helped delay his sentence for lying to the FBI until after his role in the investigation is complete — which it now is. Unfortunately for the convicted felon, such a prolonged legal process puts a dent into one’s wallet, whether it’s filled with American dollars or Turkish lira.

According to a report from ABC News, Flynn now owes his lawyers some $5 million in fees. A source close to Flynn told ABC that the former Trump surrogate hired blue-label D.C. lawyers Stephen Anthony and Robert Kelner to represent him, a decision that would put a dent in any budget after a year and a half of counsel. As Vanity Fair reported toward the beginning of the Mueller investigation, the calibre of legal representation needed to stand tall against the special counsel and other inquiries could make any wallet seem anemic:

A massive amount of wealth is about to be transferred to a certain quadrant of the D.C. bar. According to Jeffress, the most experienced and in-demand white-collar lawyers in Washington typically charge corporate clients and people indemnified by corporations over $1,000 per hour—though it’s not uncommon for them to cut their rates to somewhere between $750 and $900 per hour for clients who are paying for their representation out of their own pockets—which is even true for non-public officials. But Jeffress noted that even if an individual faces only an interview by the F.B.I. and there aren’t gigabytes of information to review, a lawyer would still likely devote 40 to 60 hours on their case. Which at the low end would cost a White House staffer $30,000 and at the high end, $54,000. And if there is a grand jury subpoena, or if the person faces possible criminal exposure, he said the total cost of their legal fees could easily be five times that much.

Flynn has already put his Alexandria, Virginia, townhouse on the market for nearly $900,000 — a little less than a fifth of his reported legal fees. But if the former National Security adviser — who served in the White House for a record-short 25 days — has taken a financial hit, he’s not the only Trump acolyte to get all but wiped out as a result of legally questionable behavior during the campaign, or covering over its defects after the fact.

In addition to legal fees of a reported $1 million and a three-year prison sentence, Michael Cohen’s guilty plea involved a forfeiture of $500,000, fines totaling $100,000, and restitution of $1.4 million. (In March, Cohen sued the Trump Organization to cover legal fees he incurred after agreeing to cooperate.) And Paul Manafort — who worked for the Trump campaign for free, reportedly in order to gain standing to revive his lobbying career — agreed to forfeit real-estate holdings and cash worth somewhere between $42 and $46 million. Manafort’s money alone was enough to put the Mueller investigation in the black.

Although Flynn’s role in the wrapped-up Mueller investigation is obviously complete, the former Army lieutenant general may be set to incur another season of legal fees, as his attorneys are reportedly pursuing a delay in sentencing until after the trial of his Turkish business associates, which will begin in July.

Report: Michael Flynn Owes Around $5 Million in Legal Fees