Prosecutors say a one-time business partner of former national security adviser Michael Flynn lied to hide the fact that he and Flynn were secretly working on behalf of the Turkish government to advance its agenda.
Bijan Kian is accused of illegally acting as an agent of the Turkish government. In opening statements at Kian’s trial Monday in Alexandria, prosecutors say Kian and Flynn sought to discredit Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, blames Gulen for a failed coup there and wants Gulen extradited from the U.S.
Prosecutors say federal law required Kian to register as a foreign agent in the interest of transparency.
Defense lawyers say Kian regularly sought and followed advice from top law firms about his registration obligations.