Judge Puts Hold on Dropping Charges against Flynn

Flynn sought to change his plea while awaiting sentencing.
This courtroom sketch depicts former President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, standing center, flanked by his lawyers, listening to U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, right. Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (Dana Verkouteren via AP)

Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, recently had his criminal case dismissed after a federal judge put the justice department’s decision aside. This now opens the door for legal experts and other outside parties to oppose the administration’s motion to persecute Flynn of lying to the FBI.

What We Know:

  • Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order is the latest development in the high-profile case, which has led critics, including Barack Obama and hundreds of former FBI and justice department officials, to question whether William Barr, the attorney general, was orchestrating favors for Trump.
  • Flynn, a retired general and a close Trump ally, pleaded guilty to a felony charge amid the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 US election. The former administration official was charged with lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US during the presidential transition period.

  • In exchange for leniency, Flynn cooperated with Mueller’s investigation as part of his plea agreement. But Flynn sought to change his plea while awaiting sentencing, as the president floated the idea of a pardon.
  • According to the Chicago Tribune, the Justice Department said last week that the FBI had insufficient basis to question Flynn in the first place and that statements he made during the interview were not material to the broader counterintelligence investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.
  • In a court filing Tuesday night, lawyers for Flynn objected to an amicus brief that a group identifying itself as “Watergate Prosecutors” had said it intended to submit, saying the brief and others like it have “no place in this Court”.

It is also possible that Sullivan could ask for additional information from the department about its decision, including more details about why it was abruptly abandoning a case it had pursued in court since 2017, when Flynn pleaded guilty.

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Javier Garay is Media & News SVCS Intern at UnmutedCo.

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