Michael Flynn, former U.S. national security adviser, exits federal court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, June 24, 2019.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A lawyer for former national security advisor Michael Flynn on Friday called the prosecution of him a “travesty of justice,” but a federal appeals court appeared skeptical of her request that it force a lower court judge to dismiss the case against him.
Sidney Powell, the lawyer for Flynn, said Judge Emmet Sullivan does not have the legal power to avoid granting the dismissal, as the Justice Department has asked, and also lacks authority to ask a lawyer to make legal arguments against that request, as Sullivan has done.
“It cannot go on any longer,” Powell told a three-judge panel at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. “There is nothing further for the court to do.”
“It’s a travesty of justice that this man has been dragged through” a three-year court ordeal on a case that was “absolutely concocted,” Powell said.
She cited the already high legal costs for Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, in fighting the case.
But members of the appellate panel appeared skeptical that they should intervene in the case now, as Powell has asked, and questioned the idea that a federal judge does not have the power to either conduct an independent inquiry of prosecutors’ decisions, or to deny them.
One judge on the appeals panel asked several times why the appellate court could not just wait for Sullivan to rule on the dismissal request, and then review the case, if needed. Sullivan has already proposed a hearing schedule for Flynn and the DOJ to argue their points.
Flynn pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador in the weeks leading up to President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and was awaiting sentencing on that charge until last month.
But the Justice Department, in a bombshell motion, asked Sullivan to toss out the case, arguing that a review of the investigation found that Flynn should not have been questioned by the FBI or charged with lying to federal agents.
Sullivan has resisted granting that motion. Instead, he appointed a former federal judge, the attorney John Gleeson, to make legal arguments for why the dismissal should not be granted, and to address the question of whether to hold Flynn in criminal contempt of court for having admitted to criminal conduct under oath that he now claims he did not do.
Gleeson earlier this week blasted the Justice Department for its dismissal motion, saying it was not legally sound. He recommended that Sullivan deny it.
But Powell is trying to short-circuit the ongoing proceedings in Sullivan’s court by filing an appeal with the appellate court, and asking it to force the dismissal and to bar Sullivan from considering outside opinions in his decision.
“The Department of Justice is the only entity . .. that has the authority to prosecute this case,” Powell argued Friday. “The government has quit and it’s time to leave the field.”
The lawyer also said that if the appeals court allowed Sullivan to conduct hearings on federal district court on the dismissal motion, “We would simply be delaying the inevitable.”
Flynn briefly served as Trump’s national security advisor before he was fired for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about what he and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak talked about before the inauguration.
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