So much for the plea deal and cooperation with prosecutors. Days after the Department of Justice told a judge that prosecutors now recommend a prison sentence for Michael Flynn, attorneys for the former national security adviser want out of the pact. Fox News covered the change in position last week that prompted the defense to demand a trial — and the full discovery that would go with it:

Declaring that “Michael T. Flynn is innocent,” Flynn’s attorneys filed a motion last night to withdraw his previous guilty plea and change it to not guilty. At issue is the potentially exculpatory evidence that emerged from the Inspector General probe of the FBI’s Russia-collusion probe:

Lawyers representing former national security adviser Michael Flynn asked a federal judge to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea on a single charge of lying to the FBI, in an unusual last-ditch effort to go to trial rather than be sentenced.

In a lengthy court filing on Tuesday evening, Mr. Flynn’s lawyers accused the government of breaching its 2017 plea agreement with him, necessitating a withdrawal of the plea.

They also said that a recently released Justice Department report on the origins of an investigation into Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign contains new information that they need additional time to consider.

That’s not the only new claim from Flynn’s legal team. The filing also claims that prosecutors pressured Flynn to provide “false” testimony in the prosecution of Flynn’s former partner Bijan Kian:

In a court document filed Tuesday evening, Flynn’s legal team wrote that the government demanded Flynn, who was expected to to be called as a government witness last July in the separate case of his former business associate Bijan Kian, to provide a “false” testimony and say that he “knew and intended” to sign false filings in his Turkish lobbying work, which would lead him to breach his plea agreement by not telling the truth.

Flynn’s legal team argued in the court document that the government made such demands for the first time after Flynn changed his legal team.

“The prosecution has shown abject bad faith in pure retaliation against Mr. Flynn since he retained new counsel,” Flynn’s defense wrote in the filing. “This can only be because with new, unconflicted counsel, Mr. Flynn refused to lie for the prosecution.”

That’s no trifling addendum. Subornation of perjury is a serious charge, one that could land prosecutors in prison if it can be proven. At the very least, the allegation will give Kian’s attorneys something new for their appeals after his conviction last July. Prosecutorial misconduct will always interest appellate courts, if the petitioners can establish that it took place.

Flynn changed lawyers a few months ago, and the new team led by Sidney Powell has taken a more confrontational approach to the DoJ, which took over the case after Mueller completed the investigation last year. That led prosecutors to revise their sentencing recommendation, a move Powell calls “vindictive” in this court filing. Prosecutors argue that they didn’t specifically ask for jail time, even though their revision to the recommendation allows for that possibility:

However, prosecutors insist their new stance on Flynn’s punishment did not recommend to U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan that the former Defense Intelligence Agency chief be sentenced to prison. They noted that they recommended a sentence in accordance with federal sentencing guidelines that call for between zero and six months in custody.

“As set forth in our submission, we believe that a sentence within the applicable guidelines range — which includes a possible sentence of probation — is appropriate in this case,” prosecutors Brandon Van Grack and Jocelyn Ballantine wrote to defense lawyers Monday. “There appears to be no dispute as to the applicable sentencing range or that a non-incarceratory sentence would be a reasonable sentence within that range.”

Van Grack and Ballantine’s latest letter to Flynn’s lawyers seems to go out of its way to stress that despite the shift in stance the government is not disputing some of Flynn’s claims for leniency, including that he cooperated with prosecutors by sitting for 20 interviews. In addition, prosecutors say Flynn’s military service is a “mitigating” factor the judge should consider.

Powell’s team has aggressively pursued the potential for misconduct in the FBI’s investigation of Flynn, but has been somewhat stymied by Judge Sullivan. Sullivan has not hidden his contempt for Flynn, arguing that he betrayed his country in the actions to which Flynn admitted in his guilty plea. Having pled to the charge, Sullivan has ruled against further discovery, which is not an unusual situation. The only way for Powell to force that discovery is to force the DoJ to go to trial, which is the reason for this motion.

It’s not the only reason for it, but it’s certainly one that might work on appeal. There’s next to no chance that Sullivan will allow this, which means Powell will have to take it to the appellate court. Now that the report from IG Michael Horowitz has detailed a significant level of misconduct in the FBI’s broader conduct of this probe, an appeal might have a better chance of success. If Powell wins a change-of-plea motion to undo the deal, she had better file for Sullivan to recuse himself, too, because otherwise Flynn’s chances for an acquittal don’t look too good.

The other reason for this is to catch Donald Trump’s attention for an eventual pardon. Flynn might be on his short list for it anyway, having been caught up in the “witch hunt” of Operation Crossfire Hurricane, as Trump calls it. If Flynn is prepared to fight it now rather than plea out, that’s likelier to impress Trump. There won’t be any pardon until after the election, but there won’t be a trial before then either, not with the appeals that will take place when Sullivan eventually spikes this motion.

NOTE: I changed the headline from “forced” to “pressured” after initial publication, as Flynn’s attorneys suggest that Flynn refused to do so.