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Judge Emmet Sullivan still refusing to dismiss Michael Flynn case

More than a week after Flynn was pardoned by President Trump, Judge Sullivan still won't dismiss the case

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Michael Flynn
Michael Flynn
(Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)
Updated: December 5, 2020 - 1:26pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

In a Freedom of Information case related to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, District Judge Reggie Walton said on Friday that Judge Emmet Sullivan doesn’t have a lot of options in dealing with the fact that President Trump granted Flynn a full pardon, “unless he takes the position that the wording of the pardon is too broad, in that it provides protections beyond the date of the pardon.”

“I don’t know what impact that would have, what decision he would make, if he makes that determination that the pardon of Mr. Flynn is for a period that the law does not permit,” said Walton, according to the National Law Journal. “I don’t know if that’s correct or not,” the judge continued. “Theoretically, the decision could be reached because the wording in the pardon seems to be very, very broad. It could be construed, I think, as extending protections against criminal prosecutions after the date the pardon was issued. I don’t know if Judge Sullivan will make that determination or not,” Walton added. 

Flynn, a former Army Lt. General and the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency under Barack Obama, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI even though originally they had determined that he did not lie to them, and that his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the period between Trump’s election in 2016 and his inauguration in January 2017 appeared legitimate. But he got caught up in the Trump Russia-collusion investigation and pleaded guilty in order to protect his son from prosecution and to avoid being bankrupted by the process.  

Flynn later changed lawyers, hiring Sidney Powell to represent him. She got the Justice Department to move to dismiss the charges against Flynn by convincing them that he had been improperly targeted by the FBI.  

But Emmet Sullivan, who was presiding over the case, refused to dismiss the charges even though there was no one attempting to prosecute the case. The legal process has dragged on through the appeals process, and finally President Trump issued a full pardon on November 25. On November 30, the DOJ notified Sullivan of the pardon, but he has still refused to drop the case. 

Judge Walton appears to have hinted at what Sullivan is thinking as he refuses to dismiss the case. 

Solomon Wisenberg, former deputy independent counsel, told Just the News that “It is disappointing but not surprising that Sullivan has yet to dismiss the case.”