Decision 8-2 restores a judge’s authority to question the Justice Department’s steps in a politically divided case when Attorney General William Barr dropped charges against former Presidential National Security Adviser Donald Trump earlier this year, although twice pleaded guilty to lying under oath to the FBI.
Flynn is fighting District Judge Emmett Sullivan’s decision to ask a third-party lawyer to justify the Justice Department’s dismissal of the case and his plans to hold a hearing, which has not yet taken place.
Monday’s ruling adds what may be the next round yet to what became an unusual and deep political case in an election year, and one of the most symbolic persecutions of a Trump adviser during that presidency. Earlier, a group of three judges from the DC District Court of Appeals sided with Flynn 2-1
In recent months, Flynn’s case has become a conduit for President Donald Trump and his supporters’ criticism of the Russian investigation. Separately, the case prompted many in the legal industry to publicly oppose Barr’s condescension to the president’s friends, saying his decision in the Flynn case had distorted the law to help Trump politically. The fate of Flynn’s case is seen as a kind of Rosetta Stone on how the public may view Mueller’s investigation – Flynn’s acquittal undermines the president’s allegations of misconduct or Flynn’s sentencing pressure on the president.
District Judge Thomas Griffith, appointed by George W. Bush on his last day before stepping down from the bench, warned in the same opinion that the latest turn in Flynn’s case should not be interpreted as a political statement.
“In cases that attract public attention, it is common for candidates and politicians to formulate their comments in a way that reduces the trial to little more than a battle in guerrilla warfare,” Griffith wrote. “The party affiliation of the president who appoints a judge becomes an explanation for the real reason for the judge’s disposition, and the legal considerations used are seen as a cover for the exercise of harsh political power. No doubt there will be some who will describe the court’s decision today. under such conditions, but they would be wrong. “
Request for reassignment of a case from Sullivan rejected
The Court of Appeal also refused to transfer Flynn’s case to another judge after Flynn’s legal team accused Sullivan of being addicted to Flynn.
Sullivan, who hired a lawyer to argue the case over his powers and asked the panel to hear it this summer, took the steps for good legal reasons, at the invitation of the appellate court, not because he took a side in Flynn’s main case, the court said. .
“Nothing about this involvement gives a reasonable impression of bias, nor could it,” the appellate court wrote in a statement Monday.
This story is breaking and will be updated.