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Retired federal judge appointed to argue against dropping charges in Flynn case

The retired federal judge is also tasked with discussing if Flynn should face contempt for perjury.

Published: May 13, 2020 8:02pm

Updated: May 13, 2020 11:45pm

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Wednesday appointed a retired federal judge to argue against dropping the charges in the case of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Sullivan also tasked the former federal judge with discussing whether the retired lieutenant general deserves to face contempt for perjury.

“The Court exercises its inherent authority to appoint The Honorable John Gleeson (Ret.) as amicus curiae to present arguments in opposition to the government’s Motion to Dismiss,” Sullivan wrote in the order. "It is further ORDERED that amicus curiae shall address whether the Court should issue an Order to Show Cause why Mr. Flynn should not be held in criminal contempt for perjury," the judge also wrote.

Sullivan appointed retired New York federal Judge John Gleeson just one day after revealing his intent to allow for the filing of amicus curiae briefs in Flynn's case, a move which meant that Flynn's case will not immediately conclude. 

Flynn's lawyers on Tuesday blasted the idea of allowing for the submission of amicus briefs. These "friend of the court" briefs allow parties interested in but not involved in a case to present their views. 

The U.S. Department of Justice recently moved to drop the charges against Flynn, but Sullivan has not yet ruled on the motion.

"The Justice Department’s move to dismiss the prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn does not need to be the end of the case — and it shouldn’t be," Gleeson and two co-authors wrote in a recent opinion piece. "The Justice Department has made conflicting statements to the federal judge overseeing the case, Emmet G. Sullivan. He has the authority, the tools and the obligation to assess the credibility of the department’s stated reasons for abruptly reversing course."

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 hoping it would catch him lying, his lawyers and Justice officials have said.

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