The judge in the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn announced Wednesday that he has appointed a retired judge as an amicus curiae to examine whether there is any reason why Flynn should not be held in contempt of court for perjury. Though Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, the DOJ set off a firestorm of criticism by filing a motion earlier this week to dismiss charges against him.
Judge Emmet Sullivan is also asking the former district court judge, John Gleeson, to argue against the Department of Justice’s decision to drop charges against the former Trump adviser. Before becoming a judge, Gleeson was well-known for prosecuting mafiosoes, including securing a conviction for Gambino boss John Gotti on racketeering and murder charges.
Gleeson has already offered his public opinion of the motion to dismiss. He wrote in a recent op-ed in The Washington Post, “The department’s motion to dismiss the Flynn case is actually just a request—one that requires ‘leave of the court’ before it is effective...There has been nothing regular about the department’s effort to dismiss the Flynn case. The record reeks of improper political influence.”
He continued, “If prosecutors attempt to dismiss a well-founded prosecution for impermissible or corrupt reasons, the people would be ill-served if a court blindly approved their dismissal request.”
Flynn, a retired Army Lieutenant General, served as Trump’s first national security adviser for less than a month in 2017. He later twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during interviews about his work with the Turkish government and contacts with Russian officials. Claiming that corrupt agents in the bureau set him up, he has since sought to withdraw his plea.
In 2018, Sullivan told Flynn at his sentencing, “arguably, you sold your country out.” In the motion to dismiss, the interim U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia wrote, “continued prosecution of this case would not serve the interests of justice.”
President Donald Trump and many of his allies had repeatedly protested the charges against Flynn and claimed they were part of a “witch hunt” against the president. Critics have accused Trump of exerting undue influence and Attorney General William Barr of bending the DOJ to the president's will. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the pair are eroding the long tradition of impartiality of the DOJ in their push to exonerate former aides. Nadler described the attempt to withdraw charges against Flynn as evidence of “a politicized and thoroughly corrupt Department of Justice.”