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Judge tells ex-Trump aide Michael Flynn 'you sold your country out'

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Former US national security adviser Michael Flynn's sentencing has been delayed to allow him to keep co-operating with Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

A US federal judge has agreed to delay former national security adviser Michael Flynn's sentencing so he can continue co-operating with the Russia probe.

Lawyers for Flynn had asked District Judge Emmet Sullivan to postpone the sentencing.

The judge will hold a review conference in March.

The request came after Judge Sullivan warned Flynn that if he were sentenced as scheduled on Tuesday, he might not get all the credit for his co-operation with investigators that he is entitled to.

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts.

Prosecutors had recommended no prison time, citing his co-operation.

Michael Flynn, former national security adviser, leaves court after a federal judge delayed his sentencing.
Michael Flynn, former national security adviser, leaves court after a federal judge delayed his sentencing.
AAP

But the judge's rebuke raised the prospect that Flynn could get a harsher sentence.

Judge Sullivan earlier lashed out at US President Donald Trump's first national security adviser, saying, "I can't hide my disgust, my disdain" at his crime.

"Arguably you sold your country out," he said.

Flynn, who served as national security adviser for only a few weeks, will be the first White House official sentenced in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible co-ordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Trump maintains no collusion

The hearing took place amid escalating legal peril for the president, who was implicated by federal prosecutors in New York this month in hush-money payments to cover up extramarital affairs.

Nearly half a dozen former aides and advisers - including Flynn - have pleaded guilty or agreed to co-operate with prosecutors.

President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull, with then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, center, and then- chief strategist Steve Bannon, right, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.Pr
In this January 2017 photo, Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon and Donald Trump sit in the White House.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File

Mr Trump signalled his interest in the case by tweeting "good luck" to Flynn hours before the sentencing hearing.

"Will be interesting to see what he has to say, despite tremendous pressure being put on him, about Russian Collusion in our great and, obviously, highly successful political campaign. There was no Collusion!" Trump wrote on Twitter.

Judge Sullivan told Flynn he would take into account his extensive co-operation with the government, which includes 19 meetings with investigators as well as a 33-year military career that included service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But he also said he was forced to weigh other factors including Flynn's decision as national security adviser to lie to the FBI on the premises of the White House about contacts he had with the Russian ambassador to the US.

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