On Wednesday in an 82-paged analysis, court-appointed lawyer and former District Judge John Gleeson labeled the Justice Department’s decision to drop the criminal charges against President Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, a “gross abuse of prosecutorial power.”
Gleeson argued that Flynn should instead be sentenced for obstruction of justice.
Timothy Shea, acting United States attorney for the District of Columbia had filed a motion on May 7 to drop charges against Flynn. This comes after Special Counsel Robert Mueller had charged Flynn for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2017 about his conversations with Russian contacts in late 2016.
However, after Mueller ended his investigation and Attorney General William Barr took office, Flynn switched defense teams, rescinded his guilty plea and accused his former attorneys of misconduct.
In justification for dropping the charges last month, the Justice Department said that the 2017 interview with the FBI was “conducted without any legitimate investigative basis” so even if Flynn committed perjury, his actions did not imply criminal intent.
In a formal briefing to District Judge Emmet Sullivan who is overseeing Flynn’s case, Gleeson argued that Flynn’s guilt “could hardly be more provable.” He stated that Flynn should not face a contempt of court hearing for perjuring himself and then rescinding the guilty plea, but should rather face a sentence for obstruction of justice.
“Flynn has indeed committed perjury in these proceedings, for which he deserves punishment, and the Court has the authority to initiate a prosecution for that crime,” wrote Gleeson.
He also argued that “Flynn did not simply seek to withdraw his plea, but did so by mounting a frontal assault on the integrity of the investigation. A false eleventh-hour disavowal of a plea and a trumped-up accusation of government misconduct constitute obstruction of the administration of justice.”
Gleeson also called Flynn “the savviest of criminal defendants to come before any court.”
Gleeson criticized the Justice Department for filing a motion to withdraw the case against Flynn arguing that it constitutes “a highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the President.” He then further stated that if Sullivan were to sentence Flynn, it would “restore order to the justice system.”
Sullivan placed Flynn’s case on hold and appointed Gleeson as an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”), to present an argument against the Justice Department’s May 7 motion, a decision that was criticized by Barr.
Sullivan however, has yet to decide on whether he should accept the Justice Department’s motion or proceed with Gleeson’s suggestion and has set a hearing on July 16 to present his final resolution.
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