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Judge in Flynn case taps retired judge to make case against DOJ move to drop charges

NBC News logo NBC News 5/14/2020 Tom Winter and Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — The federal judge overseeing the case against Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn has appointed a retired judge to present arguments in the case opposing the Department of Justice's request to dismiss the charges against the ex-national security adviser.

Judge Emmet Sullivan said that he wants retired Judge John Gleeson to present those arguments about why the charges against Flynn shouldn't be dropped and to explore the possibility that Flynn lied to Sullivan.

Sullivan said that he wants Gleeson to address whether the court should explore the possibility that Flynn could be held in criminal contempt for perjury.

Sullivan said earlier this week that he would allow individuals outside of the Justice Department as well as Flynn's attorneys to submit filings in the case that might be able to provide the court with additional information or perspectives that might help him make a decision on whether to dismiss the charges against Flynn or let him withdraw his guilty plea.

This comes after the Justice Department last week announced that it was moving to drop the criminal charges against Flynn. Earlier this week, a letter signed by nearly 2,000 former DOJ and FBI officials blasted the move and called on Attorney General William Barr to resign.

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser pleaded guilty in late 2017 to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the United States during Trump's 2016 presidential transition. Flynn, however, withdrew his guilty plea this past January after the federal government signaled that it wouldn’t pursue a lenient sentence against him.


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