One week ago, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it was dropping its criminal charges against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, The New York Times reported — and while many assumed that Flynn would finally be off the hook, the judge in the case appears to have other ideas.
Judge Emmet Sullivan has stunned legal observers by refusing to dismiss the case and requesting third-party amicus briefs on the issues in the matter, according to Fox News.
Sullivan stuns court watchers
Among those surprised by the recent turn of events is Brett Tolman, who previously served as a U.S. attorney in Utah.
On Wednesday’s episode of Fox & Friends, Tolman had some especially harsh words for Sullivan.
“This is an outrageous decision by a judge who’s now placed himself into that, you know, awful category of an activist who’s willing to set aside rules, set aside ethics, set aside precedent, and just go in a direction because he is politically motivated to do so,” Tolman stated, according to Fox.
Among Sullivan’s most controversial moves was permitting outside groups to file amicus briefs in support of continuing Flynn’s prosecution.
According to The Hill, Sidney Powell, who serves as the retired Army lieutenant general’s attorney, argued in a court filing, “A criminal case is a dispute between the United States and a criminal defendant. There is no place for third parties to meddle in the dispute, and certainly not to usurp the role of the government’s counsel.”
Criminal contempt floated
What’s more, Sullivan has asked retired federal Judge John Gleeson to recommend whether Flynn should be held in criminal contempt for perjury on the grounds that seeking to have his original guilty plea withdrawn constituted an admission that he lied to the court.
Gleeson co-authored a recent op-ed for The Washington Post in which he accused the Trump DOJ of having corrupt motives in its decision to drop the case against Flynn.
“Government motions to dismiss at this stage are virtually unheard of,” the former judge complained in the piece published on Monday.
“There has been nothing regular about the department’s effort to dismiss the Flynn case,” Gleeson continued. “The record reeks of improper political influence.”
DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec, for her part, doesn’t agree. “Knowing what we now know, we believe this case should never have been brought,” she told Fox News on Tuesday.