Appeals court orders federal judge to DROP criminal case against Mike Flynn after AG Bill Barr’s prosecutors walked away from it.
A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday directed a federal judge to drop the criminal case against President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn as demanded by the Justice Department, preventing a judicial review of the propriety of the request.
In a split decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of Flynn and the Trump administration in preventing U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan from exercising his discretion on whether to grant the department’s motion to clear Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty.
The ruling marks the latest development in an extraordinary case, where the government suddenly changed its posture after an intervention by the Justice Department overseen by Attorney General Bill Barr.
Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.
He met agents during his tenure as national security advisor, which lasted only 24 days. Investigators at the time were probing Russian election interference and any coordination with Trump campaign advisors.
Flynn cooperated extensively with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, then changed lawyers and took on an aggressive posture blasting the government’s case.
The Justice Department now says there was an inadequate basis to pursue charges.
Ordinarily it would be a defendant in a case who would be able to seek an en banc appeal of the entire D.C. Circuit in the case of an adverse ruling.
In the current case, both Flynn’s lawyers and the government are aligned.
Judge Sullivan ‘fails to justify the district court’s unprecedented intrusions on individual liberty and the Executive’s charging authority,” according to the decision authored by D.C. Circuit judge Neomi Rao, a Donald Trump appointee. The panel concluded Judge Sullivan didn’t have sufficient grounds to challenge the government’s 180 turnaround.