Judge keeps pursuing Flynn even after presidential pardon

By Bob Unruh

Emmet Sullivan

UPDATE: Judge dismisses Flynn case but insists he’s not innocent

When the Department of Justice filed a motion with Judge Emmet Sullivan in May to drop the government’s case against Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the judge refused to dismiss.

Last month, President Trump pardoned his former national security adviser, but Sullivan remains steadfast, issuing new orders Monday allowing more than a dozen groups on both sides of the argument to file friend-of-the court briefs.

Flynn had pleaded guilty in 2017 to making false statements to FBI agents in a case connected to special counsel Robert Mueller’s review of the now-debunked Russia collusion claims launched under the Barack Obama administration against Trump.

But after hiring a new attorney, Sidney Powell, Flynn filed a motion to withdraw the plea, explaining new evidence showed he had been “ambushed” by agents after the FBI found there was no case against him.

An investigation by a U.S. attorney found no foundation for the interview in which Flynn was accused of lying. The FBI already had a transcript of the telephone call at the center of the case, with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, meaning any false statements were immaterial. Unsealed evidence shows the FBI was prepared to drop the case for lack of evidence. But fired lead investigator Peter Strzok pressed ahead and set up the “ambush” interview at the White House. A memo shows FBI agents plotted before the interview to get Flynn to lie so he could be fired.

Trump granted Flynn a full pardon on Nov. 25, but the Washington Examiner reports the court docket indicates Sullivan may continue to stall, ignoring the Justice Department’s request to “immediately” dismiss the case.

The orders first were reported by Megan Mineiro of Courthouse News:

The presidential pardon was for the charge of making false statements but also included “any and all possible offenses arising from the facts set forth in the Information and Statement of Offense” and any charges that could arise from the special counsel investigation.

The Examiner said it appears Sullivan is trying to “drag the proceedings out” until Trump no longer is in office.

“On Friday, fellow U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, who is handling a Freedom of Information Act case related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, opined that Sullivan might choose to scrutinize Flynn’s pardon. Walton said he didn’t believe Sullivan ‘has a lot of options in reference to what he does … unless he takes the position that the wording of the pardon is too broad,’ according to the National Law Journal,” the report said.

Officials from more than a dozen states and numerous organizations support dismissal. Among the opponents are Democrats in Congress who promoted the debunked Russian collusion claims.

When the DOJ requested the case be dismissed, Sullivan essentially took over the role as prosecutor, appointing retired New York judge John Gleeson to argue against the DOJ’s request.

Michael Flynn (Official photo)

Flynn’s attorney, Powell, charged that Sullivan’s “increasingly hostile and unprecedented words and deeds in what has become his own prosecution of General Flynn mandate his disqualification.”

The DOJ also said Sullivan should be removed from the case.

When the pardon was announced, the Democrats in Congress who had been pushing the false Russia collusion narrative were upset.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff of California — who claimed for two years he had secret evidence of collusion — charged that Trump “has repeatedly abused the pardon power to reward friends and protect those who covered up for him.”

“This time he pardons Michael Flynn, who lied to hide his dealings with the Russians. Its no surprise that Trump would go out as he came in — Crooked to the end,” he wrote on Twitter.

Schiff led the House investigation of Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president that led to the Democrats’ impeachment of Trump.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who led the House managers in the impeachment trial, said the pardon “is undeserved, unprincipled, and one more stain on President Trump’s rapidly diminishing legacy.”

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