Judge overseeing Flynn case has hired a lawyer to defend his decision not to drop it

An appeals court has ordered the judge to explain his conduct in the case

Updated: May 23, 2020 - 8:31pm

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Emmet Sullivan, the judge who has been directed to explain his conduct in overseeing Michael Flynn's case—including his unwillingness to drop the case after the Justice Department requested it—has hired a lawyer to defend his conduct before the court. 

The judge was ordered by an appeals court this week to explain his unorthodox handling of Flynn's ongoing case in district court. The Justice Department this month moved to drop its case against Flynn, but Sullivan declined to immediately do so, instead appointing a retired judge to argue against dismissing the case.

Sullivan has retained Beth Wilkinson, a high-profile attorney known for successfully arguing in favor of the execution of domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh. She also assisted Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018 after he was accused of sexually assaulting Christine Blasey Ford in the 1980s. 

Sullivan has been given until June 1 to respond to the appeals court's order to explain his conduct. The judges at appeal will also hear arguments from Flynn's team as to why they believe Sullivan should be dismissed from the case.