Judge delays Flynn dismissal decision, invites outside opinions

Invitation for amicus briefs means case won't immediately conclude following DOJ's request to drop charges against former Trump national security adviser.

Published: May 12, 2020 8:54pm

Updated: May 12, 2020 11:16pm

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Tuesday delayed a decision on whether to dismiss Michael Flynn's conviction for lying, indicating he plans to allow for the submission of outside opinions in the form of amicus curiae briefs.

Last week, the Justice Department moved to drop the charges against Trump's former national security advisor, but the judge's plan to allow for the submission of friend of the court briefs means that the case will not be closed immediately. Sullivan has not issued a decision on the DOJ's request to drop the charges.

Flynn's legal team blasted the idea of allowing for the submission of amicus briefs, which allow for parties interested in but not involved in a case to present their views.

Timeline of the Justice Department's Case Against Michael Flynn

"It is no accident that amicus briefs are excluded in criminal cases," Flynn's lawyers wrote in a filing according to The Hill. "A criminal case is a dispute between the United States and a criminal defendant. There is no place for third parties to meddle in the dispute, and certainly not to usurp the role of the government’s counsel. For the Court to allow another to stand in the place of the government would be a violation of the separation of powers."

Flynn in 2017 pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, but later sought to withdraw his guilty plea. Evidence that has since emerged suggested the FBI had no case against Flynn but set up an interview in hopes it would catch him lying, his lawyers and Justice officials have said.

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