A former judge appointed to oppose the Justice Department’s request to drop its case against Michael Flynn urged sentencing to move ahead in a court filing Wednesday, arguing the government’s request to dismiss the case has only “pretextual” justification.
Ex-Judge John Gleeson said in a DC federal court filing that “[t]he facts surrounding the filing of the Government’s motion constitute clear evidence of gross prosecutorial abuse. They reveal an unconvincing effort to disguise as legitimate a decision to dismiss that is based solely on the fact that Flynn is a political ally of President Trump.”
Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty in late 2017 to lying to the FBI about two calls with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence, but he sought to withdraw his plea this year, saying he did not intentionally lie.
The Justice Department moved to drop its case against Flynn in May, finding FBI agents including Peter Strzok had no valid basis to interview Flynn days into Trump’s administration in January 2017 except to try to entrap him.
Recently released documents revealed that the FBI nearly closed an investigation into Flynn on Jan. 4, 2017, after finding no evidence that he was a Russian agent. But Strzok and his mistress, former FBI attorney Lisa Page, with whom he traded anti-Trump text messages, intervened to keep the case open, citing the obscure Logan Act of 1799, which bans ordinary citizens from conducting foreign diplomacy. The law is widely considered unconstitutional.
US District Judge Emmet Sullivan appointed Gleeson, a former US district judge in New York also known for handling Mafia cases as a prosecutor, to oppose the Justice Department’s request to drop the case.
In pleading guilty to lying to the FBI, Flynn avoided charges for working as an unregistered agent of Turkey and agreed to cooperate with investigators in the Russia probe. A subsequent investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.
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