September 5, 2020
The federal judge presiding over the case of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser, has set a hearing date to resolve the Justice Department’s (DOJ) request to dismiss the case.
In a late-night order, U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan granted a motion to set an earlier deadline for the case and set a teleconference hearing for oral arguments on the DOJ’s motion to dismiss on Sept. 29.
As part of the order, former federal Judge John Gleeson, who was appointed by Sullivan as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) to argue against the dismissal, is to submit his arguments by Sept. 11.
This comes after the full court of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied a request to intervene in the case and sent the case back to Sullivan to consider whether to accept the DOJ’s request to dismiss Flynn’s prosecution.
Flynn’s case is central in shaping the unsubstantiated allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to sway the 2016 election. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in December 2017 about his calls with then-Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak. He later withdrew his plea prior to sentencing.
The case received national attention in recent months after the DOJ released documents, including, handwritten notes that revealed top officials in the agency had questioned whether the goal of questioning Flynn during an interview was to “get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”
Records also disclosed as part of the case showed that President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were directly involved in discussions about the investigation during the transition period in early January 2017.
The DOJ later determined that the calls between Flynn and Kislyak were legitimate and that the FBI had no legitimate purpose question him about them, other than trying to catch him in a lie, which isn’t a proper investigative purpose.
Federal prosecutors then moved to dismiss the case but Sullivan refused to accept the dismissal and has instead pushed for further proceedings, including appointing Gleeson to determine whether Flynn should be charged with contempt of court for withdrawing his plea.
Flynn’s legal team then asked the appeals court to step in and demand that Sullivan accept that dismissal. The three-judge panel ruled in favor of Flynn but upon appeal to the full court, the court reversed and remanded the case back to Sullivan.
Petr Svab and Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.
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