U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on Tuesday put on hold the Justice Department’s move to drop charges against Michael Flynn, saying he expects independent groups and legal experts to argue against the bid to exonerate President Trump’s former national security adviser of lying to the FBI.
Sullivan’s order came after the government took the highly irregular step last Thursday of reversing its stance on Flynn’s charges and embracing Flynn’s move to dismiss his own guilty pleas.
The Justice Department’s attempts to dismiss the case last week prompted fresh accusations from law enforcement officials and Democrats that the criminal justice system was caving to political pressure from the Trump administration.
Judge invites outside parties to weigh in on Flynn case
Flynn’s lawyers moved to oppose the move Tuesday night, arguing that it would be inappropriate to allow third parties to weigh in on the prosecution.
“It is no accident that amicus briefs are excluded in criminal cases,” Flynn’s lawyers wrote in a filing. “A criminal case is a dispute between the United States and a criminal defendant. There is no place for third parties to meddle in the dispute, and certainly not to usurp the role of the government’s counsel. For the Court to allow another to stand in the place of the government would be a violation of the separation of powers.”
Judge slows down effort to drop Flynn case
The judge presiding over the tumultuous case of Michael Flynn pumped the brakes Tuesday on an effort by the Justice Department to drop the case against the former national security adviser and ally of President Donald Trump.
“[A]t the appropriate time, the Court will enter a Scheduling Order governing the submission of any amicus curiae briefs,” Sullivan wrote in an order posted Tuesday afternoon. He said that “given the posture of the case” he anticipates that many outside parties will have an interest in weighing in.