Politics

Prosecutors Plan To Call Michael Flynn’s Son, Ex-FBI Official As Witnesses In Turkish Lobbying Trial

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
  • Prosecutors have released a witness list and exhibit list ahead of the trial for Bijan Rafiekian, a former business partner of Michael Flynn’s. 
  • Former FBI official Brian McCauley, who worked for Rafiekian and Flynn, is included on the list. Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr., is also included.
  • Rafiekian is accused of working secretly as an agent of Turkey on a Flynn Intel Group project.

Federal prosecutors plan to call a former FBI official who worked for Michael Flynn’s consulting firm as well as Flynn’s son as witnesses at a trial against Bijan Rafiekian, a former Flynn business partner who is accused of lobbying secretly on behalf of the Turkish government.

Brian McCauley, a former deputy assistant director for international operations at the FBI, and Michael Flynn Jr. are listed along with 14 other witnesses that prosecutors plan to call at Rafiekian’s trial, which is slated to begin July 15 in Alexandria, Virginia.

Flynn Jr. worked for his father’s consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, known as FIG. McCauley, who left the FBI in 2015, worked as a consultant for FIG during its investigation of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in exile in the U.S. (RELATED: Flynn Paid Ex-FBI Agents, Behavioral Analysts In Lobbying Work For Turkish Government)

Prosecutors included McCauley’s name on a list of witnesses released on Wednesday. They added Flynn Jr. on Thursday.

The inclusion of Flynn Jr. is something of a surprise because prosecutors reversed course earlier in July on their decision to call his father to testify against Rafiekian. Flynn, a retired lieutenant-general, has cooperated with prosecutors since striking a plea deal with the special counsel on Dec. 1, 2017. But in their reversal, prosecutors also submitted a request to classify Flynn as a co-conspirator in the case. Judge Anthony Trenga rejected that request Wednesday, but left the door open to changing his mind at trial.

Rafiekian, who also uses the last name Kian, faces charges that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent of Turkey and that he conspired with Dutch-Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin to do the same. Prosecutors have also alleged that Alptekin received $80,000 in kickback payments that were disguised as consulting fees.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is accusing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of providing an "insufficient" response to requests for documents about the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. (Getty Images/Drew Angerer)

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is accusing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of providing an “insufficient” response to requests for documents about the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. (Getty Images/Drew Angerer)

Alptekin hired Flynn Intel Group in August 2016 through a Dutch shell company called Inovo B.V. to investigate Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric that the Turkish government wants extradited from the U.S. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Michael Flynn Is Lobbying For Obscure Dutch Firm With Ties To Turkish Government)

As part of its $600,000 contract, Flynn Intel Group created a plan to rely on former FBI investigators and intelligence specialists to form an “investigative laboratory” to investigate Gulen, potentially to recommend criminal charges against the mysterious cleric.

Flynn Intel’s foreign lobbying disclosure firms show that McCauley was paid $28,000 in consulting fees from the Gulen project. Flynn’s firm also hired Sphere Consulting, a lobbying firm, to set up meetings on Capitol Hill and to place an op-ed written by Flynn calling for Gulen’s extradition.

The op-ed was published by The Hill on Nov. 8, 2016.

Prosecutors plan to call several Sphere Consulting executives to testify. David Enders, a video journalist who was hired to film a documentary about Gulen, is also included on the witness list.

Members of Flynn’s initial legal team from the firm Covington & Burling are also listed as witnesses. They are likely to be called to testify about deliberations about whether Flynn, Flynn Intel Group, and Rafiekian should register as foreign agents under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Flynn replaced the Covington team in June with a new set of lawyers.

Prosecutors also on Wednesday revealed a list of exhibits they plan to introduce at Rafiekian’s trial.

Many of the exhibits are emails between Rafiekian, Flynn, Alptekin, and other FIG employees. Some include emails between lobbyists for Sphere Consulting.

The exhibit list includes emails exchanged between McCauley and Flynn, and McCauley and Alptekin. Other documents cited on the list include some from Thomas Neer, a former FBI behavioral analyst who contracted through Flynn Intel Group.

Another exhibit is an Oct. 11, 2016 email exchange between FIG employee Michael Boston and Ali Cinar, the head of the Turkish Heritage Organization, a U.S.-based group that advocates for Turkish interests.

Cinar told The Daily Caller News Foundation that he does not expect to be called as a witness at Rafiekian’s trial and does not recall the details of his email exchange with Boston.

The exhibit list also refers to emails exchanged between Alptekin and Elliott Investigative Services, a California-based private investigation firm.

An email sent to Elliott Investigative Services was not returned. Alptekin, who served as chairman of the Turkish-U.S. Business Council during his contract with FIG, remains in Turkey.

McCauley, who oversaw the FBI’s international operations in more than 100 countries, made national news in the aftermath of the Clinton email investigation and during the presidential campaign, while he was contracted with Flynn Intel Group.

The FBI interviewed witnesses during the Clinton email investigation who said that McCauley and then-State Department official Patrick Kennedy discussed a quid pro quo arrangement regarding the classification of classified emails found on Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

McCauley and Kennedy allegedly discussed downgrading the classification of a “Secret” email discussing the Benghazi attacks in exchange for State Department concessions related to FBI agents operating in the Middle East.

McCauley also once served as associate deputy director of the National Clandestine Service for Intelligence Community Human Intelligence Operations. He was picked for the position by then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.

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