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Justice Department caved to Trump ‘pressure campaign’ to drop Michael Flynn prosecution, lawyer charges

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Former national security adviser Michael Flynn exits a vehicle as he arrives for his sentencing hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington, December 18, 2018.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

A former federal judge said in a court filing Friday that the Justice Department’s unusual effort to dismiss its prosecution of former national security advisor Michael Flynn seems like a “corrupt and politically motivated favor” done after pressure by President Donald Trump.

Former judge John Gleeson’s condemnation of the effort came as he said that the judge in Flynn’s case has the right to refuse to endorse the Justice Department’s request to drop the case.

Gleeson, who is now an attorney in private practice, was appointed by Washington federal court judge Emmet Sullivan earlier this year to argue against the Justice Department’s request.

“The Government makes virtually no effort to deny or rebut the powerful evidence that its … motion improperly seeks to place this Court’s imprimatur on a corrupt, politically motivated favor for the President’s friend and ally,” Gleeson wrote in the filing.

Flynn pleaded guilty nearly three years ago to lying to FBI agents about his discussions with a Russian diplomat. He has yet to be sentenced in the case, and for more than a year has tried to undo his conviction by arguing misconduct by prosecutors and the FBI.

The Justice Department until several months ago had fought against Flynn’s effort. But then it abruptly asked that the case be dismissed.

Trump has repeatedly criticized the prosecution of Flynn.

Gleeson cited that criticism as he blasted the Justice Department for failing to mention in its own court filings the effect of Trump’s comments.

“The Government does not disagree with any of this — presumably because it cannot. Indeed, the Government nowhere even mentions the President’s personal lobbying, let alone his virulent attacks on those previously involved in this prosecution,” Gleeson.

“Based entirely on evidence already in the public view, the only coherent explanation for the Government’s exceedingly irregular motion — as well as its demonstrable pretexts — is that the Justice Department has yielded to a pressure campaign led by the President for his political associate.”

Flynn’s lawyers had asked a federal appeals court to force Sullivan to dimiss that case.

Although an appeals court panel granted that request, the full appeals court soon after reversed that decision, saying that Sullivan should be allowed to make a decision on the dismissal request one way or the other.

Sullivan is expected to hear arguments on the dismissal later this month.

A lawyer for Flynn, and a spokeswoman for the Justice Department did not immediately respond Friday to requests for comment about Gleeson’s court filing. 

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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