When Is the Right Time to Challenge Michael Flynn and Challenge Your Colleagues?

If you’ve watched the Michael Flynn saga unfold, in which Flynn offered to testify about the Trump administration’s ties to Russia, you might be curious. Sure, curious what Flynn says (wouldn’t we want to know!), But also just curious about his strategy : why now? Why not a month ago or a month later? You may have asked yourself, “If I were involved in some nefarious operation, be it organized crime, or, say, simply conspired to adjust US policy in favor of a foreign power, how would I know exactly what time is it high time to pull the cord? the prisoner’s dilemma and the offer to testify in exchange for immunity? “

I mean, if you happen to be a cog in a shady venture by accident or on purpose and feel the Feds sniffing your door, how long can you bluff and more importantly keep your composure?

It’s a tough question, says Matt Kaiser, a former federal public defender and partner at KaiserDillon in Washington, DC. The answer depends on what you know, what you think the prosecution knows, how well you know your co-conspirators (and how likely they are to offend you) , the climate in general, and some game theory.

Typically, however, the Kaiser says, “If you are in a situation where a serious crime is taking place, the feds will catch you and it starts to become a reality, then the moment you want to flip is that moment. it is clear that they will go ahead, but before anyone else will turn.

Okay, but what happens if you jump the gun or if you delay too long? The Kaiser says: “From time to time, one awkward thing happens: someone rolls over too early and pleads guilty. Later, the court or jury will decide that what happened was not really a crime. ” So, for an act that was not really a crime, you go to jail anyway , or your lawyer is trying to overturn the confession.

What if you wait too long? “A lot of people are late. If you are the fifth person, it is too late. You are not getting any credits. ” They don’t need you anymore.

Kaiser says offering testimony in exchange for immunity is a bit like dancing or playing poker. “This is the really fun part of this negotiation: I start off by saying, ‘You have to give my boyfriend a full’ get out of jail free ‘card, and I can’t tell you why.” “And the other guys say, ‘You’re a good guy, but no .’ Then you give them a little more information; they give you some information. It’s like a date. And if you’re not careful, you have a bad reputation. “

Oh, what if you are a woman and involved in a dark enterprise? Read about the prisoner ‘s dilemma . When Kaiser was a federal public defender, more than half of his clients were women. “The gender part of it is just heartbreaking. These poor women, who were just wives and girlfriends, were pressured by the prosecutor to say something about men. The guys pounced on each other all the time. Girlfriends and wives often supported their man, and they were simply beaten for this. “

So what does the Kaiser think – Flynn rolled too early or too late? He is laughing. “I don’t know. We don’t know what he knows. If we did it, it would be useless.”

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