WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The judge who heard the criminal prosecution against former aide to the President of the United States, Donald Trump, Michael Flynn, asked an appeals court on Thursday to reconsider a recent decision dismissing the case.
FILE PHOTO: Former US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn passes members of the media as he leaves after his sentence was delayed in the US District Court in Washington, USA. USA, December 18, 2018. REUTERS / Joshua Roberts
US District Judge Emmet Sullivan petitioned the entire US Court of Appeals for the Circuit of the District of Columbia to review the June 24 decision ordering him to drop the Flynn case.
The Justice Department tried to dismiss the case against Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, after pressure from Trump and his allies, drawing criticism that Attorney General William Barr was using his office to help the friends of the president.
Sullivan refused to immediately sign the dismissal, instead of appointing a retired judge to argue in favor of denying the Justice Department’s request.
Sullivan has said it cannot serve as a “rubber stamp” and should carefully review the layoff application.
In a 2-1 decision issued last month, a panel of three DC Circuit judges ordered Sullivan to grant the department’s motion to release Flynn, who pleaded guilty twice.
“This is not the rare case in which further judicial investigation is warranted,” Judge Neomi Rao, appointed by Trump, wrote for the court, adding that Sullivan had meddled with “the exclusive fiscal power of the executive branch.”
Sullivan’s lawyers told the appeals court that the panel’s decision marked a “dramatic break from the precedent” that “threatens to turn the ordinary judicial process upside down.”
Flynn, a retired army lieutenant general, was one of several former Trump aides charged under an investigation by former special adviser Robert Mueller that detailed Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Flynn twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
He then changed lawyers to pursue a new scorched-earth tactic that accused the FBI of catching him, and asked the judge to dismiss the charge.
Reports by Jan Wolfe; Leslie Adler, Richard Chang and Tom Brown edition