John Gleeson’s comments on Friday include some of the Justice Department’s strongest rebuke to date and directly accuse those appointed by President Donald Trump of making his attempt to protect Flynn simply because he is a political ally.
“In the United States, presidents do not organize pressure campaigns to get the Department of Justice to drop charges against defendants who have pleaded guilty – twice, before two different judges – and whose guilt is evident” , wrote Gleeson.
“Yet that is exactly what happened here,” he added.
He reiterated his position that Judge Emmet Sullivan should dismiss the Justice Department’s request to dismiss the case and should move forward with Flynn’s conviction.
In no time, Gleeson urged Sullivan to keep the case alive and convict Flynn for lying to the FBI and for committing perjury during court proceedings, when he reversed his previous guilty plea. Flynn sought an emergency order from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and won a temporary victory that would have ended the case – but that decision was later overturned last month.
“The government is trying to give special treatment to a criminal accused because he is favored by the president,” Gleeson wrote, arguing that the judge “would send an important message on the rule of law by refusing to grant special treatment to (Flynn’s) perjury. ”
How to proceed is up to Sullivan to decide, but if he decides to keep the case alive, Flynn could appeal that decision, leading to more legal limbo.
In the court file, Gleeson issued a scathing and self-fulfilling rebuke from the Justice Department, and even claimed his actions in the case were “unworthy of our justice system.”
“To describe the government’s defeat motion as improper would be an underrated study,” Gleeson wrote.
Gleeson accuses the Department of Justice of invoking a “parade of false formalities” and of using “straw man” arguments to protect Flynn.
Dismissing Justice Department claims that Flynn’s lies were not important to the Russia investigation, Gleeson cited the recent bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee. The committee said it had investigated Flynn and other Trump’s aides with the Russians “to better understand what Moscow was seeking to gain” from the Trump team.
In calling for the case to be dropped, prosecutors said they were unsure whether they could prove that Flynn’s statements to the FBI were in fact false. Gleeson wrote that “Flynn has confessed on several occasions” and said his “numerous and consistent confessions should practically settle the matter.”
Flynn was a key witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction.
But Flynn changed his legal team last year and took a new approach: he began claiming that Mueller’s prosecutors were at fault and began to rely on conspiracy theories in his legal arguments. Earlier this year, he requested that his guilty plea be withdrawn two weeks before his conviction, and his lawyers have proclaimed his innocence in court documents.
Months later, the Department of Justice announced plans to drop the case, an extraordinary reversal after spending years prosecuting Flynn. The move came as Trump lashed out at the Mueller inquiry and as Attorney General William Barr moved to undo some of Mueller’s accomplishments.
The case has remained in legal limbo ever since, although Gleeson’s filing on Friday was one of the last procedural steps on the schedule before Sullivan could move forward.
For his part, Flynn and his lawyers say he is innocent and was only trapped in the Russia investigation because of abuses by Mueller and senior officials in the Obama administration. His plight has become a rallying cry for Trump and the right-wing media, which has promoted many of his theories, even though there is almost no evidence to support any of this.
As his case went through the court system this summer, Flynn and some of his conservative lawyers began to embrace the QAnon conspiracy theory movement, and Trump has even said he would consider bringing Flynn back into the administration. he won a second term.
CNN’s Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.