Judge in Flynn cases now want full court to decide whether to dismiss case, filed court docs show

The Justice Department has asked the courts since May to allow the case against Flynn to be dropped

Updated: July 9, 2020 - 6:02pm

Attorneys for the federal judge overseeing the Michael Flynn case filed court documents Thursday requesting a full panel of judges be allowed to hear briefings and arguments on a pending motion to dismiss the U.S. government’s case against the former national security adviser. The attorneys argue the three-member panel of judges that denied the effort “marks a dramatic break from precedent that threatens the orderly administration of justice.” 

In the 68-page document filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, attorneys for Judge Emmet Sullivan argue three main points: that the 2-1 majority rule by the panel in June undermined the court’s "consistent interpretation" of standards that would forcing the district court to grant a motion it had not yet resolved; the panel undercut Supreme and Circuit court precedent on such matters, and thirdly, that the panel contravened Supreme Court and Circuit precedent in precluding the district court from appointing an amicus and scheduling a hearing. 

Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI agents about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

However, recently released declassified documents suggested that the FBI acted improperly in its handling of the case, including agents interviewing Flynn on the Russia matter as the incoming Trump administration entered the White House, which led Flynn’s attorneys to try to vacate their client’s guilty plea. 

Attorney General William Barr asked Sullivan in May to allow the court to end the federal government’s case against Flynn.

Sullivan instead appointed retired federal Judge John Gleeson as amicus to present arguments in opposition to the government’s motion and advise whether contempt proceedings against Flynn should be initiated.

The three-judge panel ruled in late June to end the case as Barr requested.