Ex-Trump aide Michael Flynn asks appeals court to toss out criminal charges

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Tuesday (May 19) asked a US appeals court to force a judge to dismiss the criminal charges against him as requested by the Justice Department.

The department’s May 7 reversal in a case in which Flynn previously pleaded guilty drew accusations from Democrats and retired career prosecutors that Attorney-General William Barr was politicising the US criminal justice system to benefit Trump’s friends and associates in criminal cases.

A 2018 photo shows Flynn leaving the US District Court in Washington.
A 2018 photo shows Flynn leaving the US District Court in Washington.PHOTO: REUTERS

In an emergency petition, Flynn’s lawyers asked that the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit order District Judge Emmet Sullivan to grant the department’s request to dismiss the case.

Sullivan on May 13 signalled reluctance to drop the charges, appointing a retired judge to provide advice on whether Flynn should actually face an additional criminal contempt charge for perjury.

Flynn, who also served as a Trump campaign adviser in 2016, pleaded guilty in 2017 to charges of lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador in Washington, but later sought to withdraw his plea and accused the FBI of tricking him.

The Justice Department’s decision to ask the judge to drop the charges followed public pressure from Trump and the Republican president’s political allies.

Flynn’s petition also argued that, if there are further proceedings, the case should be assigned to another judge because Sullivan has shown bias against the defendant.

Sullivan’s conduct “bespeaks a judge who is not only biased against Petitioner, but also revels in the notoriety he has created by failing to take the simple step of granting a motion he has no authority to deny,” the petition stated.

Sullivan at a 2018 hearing expressed “disgust” and “disdain” towards Flynn’s criminal offense, saying: “Arguably, you sold your country out.”

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