A federal judge has hired a high-powered attorney after refusing to dismiss charges against former national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn after the Justice Department requested to drop the case.
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan retained Washington D.C. lawyer Beth Wilkinson to argue in front of a federal appeals court why Sullivan was right to reexamine Flynn’s case before dropping the charges, a source told The Washington Post. A panel on the D.C. Court of Appeals has demanded that Sullivan explain his decision to reject the DOJ request.
Wilkinson has represented a series of prominent officials in high-stakes legal battles. She represented Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his Senate confirmation battle when several women made unsubstantiated accusations of sexual assault against him.
FBI Director Christopher Wray ordered an internal investigation into the Flynn case that will determine whether any FBI agents or officials abused their powers in probing Flynn, according to Fox News.
“Although the FBI does not have the prosecutorial authority to bring a criminal case, the Inspection Division can and will evaluate whether any current onboard employees engaged in actions that might warrant disciplinary measures,” the FBI announced on Friday.
The DOJ motion to drop its case against Flynn on May 7 after court documents unsealed in April revealed that the FBI’s top brass had interfered in an FBI probe into Flynn in January 2017 to hold the case open despite having little, if any, reason to do so. The documents also indicated that FBI officials sought to trap Flynn in a Jan. 24, 2017 interview into either lying to federal agents or admitting to breaking an obscure 1799 law. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in December 2017, but asked to rescind his guilty plea earlier this year.
After Sullivan refused to drop the case, the judge took the unusual step of asking a retired federal judge to essentially prosecute a case that Attorney General William Barr felt lacked enough evidence to make. Sullivan appointed John Gleeson, a former mafia prosecutor, to pursue the charges against Flynn in the absence of the DOJ’s team. Gleeson is also weighing whether Flynn should be charged with perjury for proclaiming innocence after already pleading guilty.
Flynn’s attorney Sydney Powell blasted Sullivan’s decision to keep the case against Flynn open after the Justice Department decided to stop prosecuting the case.
“This travesty of justice has already consumed three or more years of an innocent man’s life — and that of his entire family. No further delay should be tolerated or any further expense caused to him and his defense,” Powell wrote in a court filing. “This Court should enter the order proposed by the government immediately.”
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