A federal appeals court has ordered the dismissal of the criminal case against former national security adviser and retired Army general Michael Flynn on Wednesday morning.
The 2-1 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturns U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan’s decision to appoint a retired judge to file a friend-of-the-court review of the case, and orders Sullivan to dismiss the case altogether, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“The district court’s orders appointing an amicus and scheduling the proposed hearing … constitute clear legal error,” the ruling said.
A July 16 hearing date was scheduled for Sullivan to decide whether or not to dismiss the case.
The Department of Justice had filed documents on May 7 moving to dismiss Flynn’s case “after a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information.”
U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen, who reviewed the Flynn case, recommended that Attorney General Bill Barr dismiss the case in May.
“Through the course of my review of General Flynn’s case, I concluded the proper and just course was to dismiss the case,” Jensen said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press. “I briefed Attorney General Barr on my findings, advised him on these conclusions, and he agreed.”
Flynn, 61, had pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1, 2017, for providing a false statement to the FBI about his contact with Moscow’s then-ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislya, during President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Flynn was an advisor on the Trump campaign.
Transcripts of the call that were declassified and released earlier this month showed no wrongdoing, according to Republican lawmakers, although Democrats maintain that he lied when discussing the call with the FBI.
Flynn had filed to withdraw his guilty plea last year, while arguing prosecutorial misconduct and accusing prosecutors of withholding information considered “favorable” to Flynn.
Internal FBI notes unsealed in late April suggest agents deliberated a “goal” of getting Flynn to lie during an interview that ultimately resulted in his firing from the White House and prosecuted by Robert Mueller’s special counsel team.
The notes, handwritten by the FBI’s former head of counterintelligence Bill Priestap after a meeting with then-FBI Director James Comey and then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, suggest the FBI wanted to draw Flynn into a lie if they couldn’t get him to admit to a violation of the Logan Act, which forbids U.S. citizens from conducting foreign diplomacy without authorization.
The DOJ contended in May that Flynn’s Jan. 24, 2017 interview was “conducted without any legitimate investigative basis” and was “untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn.”