Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order is the latest development in the high-profile case, which has led critics, including Barack Obama and hundreds of former FBI and Justice officials, to wonder if William Barr, the attorney general, orchestrated favors for Trump.
Flynn, a retired general and close ally of Trump, has pleaded guilty to a crime in the midst of Special Council Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 US elections. of the administration was accused of lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States during the presidential transition period. In return for his leniency, Flynn cooperated in Mueller’s investigation as part of his plea deal.
But Flynn sought to change his plea while awaiting sentencing, while the president floated the idea of a pardon.
The Justice Department said last week that the FBI had no basis for questioning him, and federal prosecutors have asked Sullivan to dismiss their case against Flynn. None of the line prosecutors monitoring the case signed the request and one withdrew from the case.
Although Flynn’s lawyers asked Sullivan to immediately drop the charges, Sullivan said he wanted to hear more arguments. “Given the position of the case,” he said, he anticipated that many outside parties would like to intervene.
Sullivan previously questioned Flynn in court. At a hearing in 2018, he rejected a government-backed probation motion, telling Flynn, “You could say you sold your country.”
Flynn’s defense team said Sullivan’s order on Tuesday was prompted by a case by a group called “Watergate prosecutors” who questioned the actions of the Justice Department and suggested that the political influence was at stake.
Challenging the order, Flynn’s defense lawyer Sidney Powell and his co-counsel wrote in a case: “There is no room for third parties to interfere in the dispute, and certainly not to usurp the role of the government council.
“This travesty of justice has already consumed three or more years of the life of an innocent man – and that of his entire family,” wrote Powell. “No other delay should be tolerated. “
In a web leak, Obama is quoted as saying “the rule of law is in danger” because the Department of Justice dropped the charges against Flynn. House Judge Committee chairman Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat, called the decision “scandalous” and said he intended to call Barr to testify on the handling of the case.
“We don’t think this case should have been brought, we are correcting this and we certainly hope that, in the interest of true justice, that the judge accepts and ultimately drops the case against Gen Flynn,” said Kerri. Kupec, spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice. , in an interview with Fox News Tuesday evening.
The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to the Guardian’s request for comment.
Agencies contributed to the reports.