Jun 12, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Appeals court appears hesitant to toss criminal case against Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn walking in front of a courthouse
Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

A federal appeals court in D.C. appears hesitant to order Judge Emmit Sullivan to dismiss the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Flynn and the Justice Department had asked the appeals court to order District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan to quickly resolve the case examining why the federal government dropped charges against Flynn. While the appeals court hasn't issued a decision, their hesitation suggests the courts have the right to review whether Justice Department moves to drop a prosecution are “in the public interest," the Post writes.

  • The DOJ's motion to drop charges against Flynn prompted Sullivan to appoint John Gleeson, a former judge, to review the motion. Gleeson wrote in a brief that Flynn appeared to commit perjury and accused the DOJ of a "corrupt, politically motivated" request for dismissal.

The state of play: The Justice Department announced in early May it was dropping charges against Flynn, the first Trump associate to plead guilty or be convicted following the Mueller investigation.

  • The Justice Department said in its filing that it made its decision to drop the charges "after a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information."
  • Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents in 2017 about his conversations with the former Russian ambassador during the Mueller investigation.

What they're saying:

  • Appellate Judge Karen Henderson told Flynn's attorney, “If Judge Sullivan had just kept this motion waiting and languishing, that’s one thing. But he has set a hearing for mid-July. For all we know, by the end of July he will have granted the motion...There’s nothing wrong with him holding a hearing — there’s no authority I know of that says he can’t hold a hearing.”

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