Full appeals court WILL hear arguments about ending Michael Flynn case in blow to former national security adviser
THE US Federal Appeals Court said on Thursday it would take up a case involving the decision to drop the prosecution of President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
An order from the Court of Appeals said that a majority of its members had voted to erase a June 24 panel decision to dismiss the case against Flynn, setting an oral argument for August 11.
The decision means that the legal and political saga over Flynn will continue even after Attorney General William Barr's decision to drop the prosecution, erasing a split decision by a three-judge panel in June.
The ruling is a blow to Flynn and the Justice Department, which had asked the trail judge to drop the prosecution of him for lying to FBI agents about his conversations with a Russian diplomat weeks before Trump's inauguration.
Flynn, who briefly served as Trump’s White House national security adviser, was fired in February 2017 and then pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about discussing sanctions and a UN vote in December 2016 with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
The decision to toss Flynn’s case was made by a full slate of DC Circuit judges, with the exception of one who did not participate in the matter, according to court documents.
The DC Circuit has a majority of Democratic-appoint judges.
Both Judges Neomi Rao and Karen Henderson, who voted for the dismissal, will sit on the panel to rehear the case.
Judge Robert Wilkins, who wrote that his colleagues hurt the government’s balance of powers by cutting short Emmet Sullivan’s approach, will also sit in on the panel.
Sullivan, who has been overseeing Flynn’s case for three years, had appointed a third party, known as an amicus, to challenge the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the case.
They tried to determine whether Flynn had committed perjury for claiming he is innocent of a crime to which he had previously pleaded guilty.
In the ruling last month ordering Sullivan to dismiss the case, Trump-appointed DC Circuit Judge Rao called Sullivan’s actions “unprecedented intrusions on individual liberty” and on the Justice Department’s prosecutorial powers.
Rao described Sullivan’s decision to appoint an amicus a “mistaken understanding” of a judge’s role.
Sullivan’s intent to “scrutinize the reasoning and motives of the Department of Justice constitute irreparable harms that cannot be remedied on appeal,” said Rao.
If sentenced, Flynn faces a likely zero-to-six months in prison.
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