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December 17, 2018

Two of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's former associates have been hit with indictments.

Bijan Kian and Ekim Alptekin were charged Monday with counts of conspiracy and illegally acting as agents of a foreign government, reports CNN. The Justice Department says they were both involved in a "conspiracy to covertly influence U.S. politicians and public opinion" against Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania whose extradition has been requested by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two men sought to delegitimize Gulen with the goal of getting him extradited, all while hiding the fact that they were being directed by the government of Turkey, the DOJ says. Flynn's lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group, was used as part of this effort, NBC News reports.

Additionally, Alptekin is charged with four counts of making false statements to the FBI. Documents that have been unsealed as part of this case show that Flynn was working to promote Turkey's agenda even as he was angling for a role in President Trump's administration, per The Washington Post. Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced for lying to the FBI on Tuesday and has previously admitted to lying about participating in lobbying for Turkey, per Politico. Brendan Morrow

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