Federal Judge Sullivan formally dismisses fed's case against former national security adviser Flynn

Sullivan had for months delayed Attorney General William Barr's request to dismiss the Justice Department case.

Published: December 8, 2020 2:09pm

Updated: December 8, 2020 2:57pm

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed the federal government's case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, while also indicating he might not have so done so had President Trump not pardoned Flynn.

The judge, Emmet Sullivan of the D.C. Circuit Court, had for months delayed Attorney General William Barr's request to dismiss the Justice Department case, instead appointing outside counsel to review the request. 

Sullivan's decision end a roughly three year legal battle that started when the Justice Department accused Flynn of  colluding with Russian officials during the time the Trump administration was taking office in early 2017.

Court document show Sullivan in dismissing the case said Trump's pardon had made the case "moot."

"Court DENIES AS MOOT the government’s motion to dismiss ... and GRANTS the government’s consent motion based on the presidential pardon and DISMISSES this case AS MOOT," Sullivan wrote in his memorandum opinion.

Flynn, a former lieutenant general, spoke to a Russian ambassador about sanctions during the transition period and eventually pleaded guilty to the charge.

However, he hired a new legal team, including former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, earlier this year that uncovered how the FBI broke protocol in interviewing Flynn at the White House about the matter. The finding prompted Barr in September to request the dismissal. 

The Justice Department has argued to Sullivan that Trump's pardon excuses Flynn from being held in contempt by the court, for admitting under oath that he was guilty then saying he  innocent.

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