« Distance between Trump and allies grows ahead of NATO summit | Main | What to know about NATO as Trump heads to Brussels »

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn due back in court

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn will be in court again on Tuesday, but don’t expect an ending to the military man’s legal battle.

Last December, Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI regarding back-channel conversations with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the Trump administration’s transition as part of a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller. In order to avoid a trial, Flynn agreed to be a cooperating witness in the ongoing probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

That was seven months ago. While it’s unclear exactly how Flynn is helping investigators, what is certain is that the retired three-star general, who could face up to six months in prison, has had his sentencing date repeatedly delayed.

Sources close to Flynn say he has been spending time with his family in Rhode Island this summer while he awaits sentencing.

“He's a beach nut. And he's playing a lot of golf with friends or occasionally surfing," one close Flynn confidant told ABC News on Monday.

In an effort to buy more time, both Mueller’s team and Flynn’s attorneys submitted a joint status report late last month asking a federal judge to postpone Flynn’s sentencing for the third time. The filling states that because of the ongoing investigation, both parties “do not believe this matter is ready to be scheduled for a hearing at this time,” and that they would provide another joint status report within 60 days.

The joint report also requests that the probation office prepare a presentence investigation report for Flynn—a necessary step for federal sentencing, but one that’s typically completed after the date for a sentencing hearing is set.

This ongoing delay could indicate that Flynn is still an active part of the investigation or that prosecutors believe he has a role to play in a later trial. But Tuesday’s hearing indicates that the judge is looking for more of an explanation from investigators.

U.S. Federal Judge Emmitt Sullivan issued an order last week, mandating that lawyers from both sides and the defendant attend Tuesday’s status hearing. This will be the first hearing in the case overseen by Judge Sullivan, and the first time Flynn has appeared in court since entering his plea.

In the months since he pleaded guilty, Flynn has largely remained outside of the spotlight—avoiding the media, and even shutting down a conservative lobbyist’s unauthorized attempt to fundraise for his legal defense fund.

“He felt he needed to act as a soldier and has kept his mouth shut,” a source close to Flynn told ABC News. “He doesn’t want to be viewed as a whiner.”

However, Flynn did publically break his silence while campaigning for California congressional candidate Omar Navarro, a Republican vying for Maxine Waters’ seat.

“What I’m not here to do, is I’m not here to complain about who has done me wrong, or how unfair I’ve been treated or how unfair the entire process has been,” Flynn said while introducing Navarro. “You know what it is.”

Through the year and a half of political turmoil sparked by his 24 day term as national security adviser, Flynn has amassed a base of supporters who don’t believe he lied to FBI. Some friends and family members have used the hashtag #ClearFlynnNow as a way to build public support on social media.

But barring the submission of any previously new evidence, the closest Flynn may come to clearing his name is a presidential pardon. It is unclear whether Flynn or his legal team has asked for one, and unclear if President Donald Trump would grant one.

ABC News' James Gordon Meek contributed to this report.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ABC News Radio