The Michael Flynn case has gone off the hinges. In reality, there is no case. The Department of Justice has filed a motion to dismiss the case against the former national security adviser after new documents showed a large-scale plot from within the FBI to entrap Flynn despite a lack of evidence concerning Russian collusion. Remember, Flynn made some phone calls to the Russians which made him a target. These weren’t pernicious calls.This was standard operating procedure for any incoming administration. Yet, James Comey wanted to get Flynn at all costs.
No one has opposed the motion to dismiss. The prosecutor has resigned there is no case, but Judge Emmet Sullivan wants to keep this circus act going. He’s allowing Trump-deranged lawyers to file amicus briefs and appointed a retired Judge John Gleeson to fight the DOJ motion and see if the federal courts could file perjury charges against Flynn, now that he’s fought to withdraw that plea deal regarding the bogus “lying to the FBI” charge.
Sullivan is overreaching and Flynn’s legal team has filed a new petition to drop the case and get the former general out of legal purgatory. The DC Court of Appeals could have rejected the writ of mandamus outright. They didn’t. Instead, their actions point to the court being highly disturbed by Sullivan’s actions, as they’ve ordered him to respond personally to the writ in the next ten days. The petition, filed by Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, calls for the case to be dismissed, the judge removed, and overall legal relief for her client. Sullivan had called Flynn a traitor in open court. It shouldn’t be shocking if a good chunk of this writ is agreed upon. Some legal advisers noted that this writ has already climbed a huge hurdle with a response like this, which is the most drastic of options for Sullivan.
Yet, his actions in response to the Flynn legal team’s writ of mandamus has raised some eyebrows; he’s hired a high-powered attorney to do his work for him in this area (via WaPo):
The federal judge who refused a Justice Department request to immediately drop the prosecution of former Trump adviser Michael Flynn has hired a high-profile trial lawyer to argue his reasons for investigating whether dismissing the case is legally or ethically appropriate.
In a rare step that adds to this criminal case’s already unusual path, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has retained Beth Wilkinson to represent him in defending his decision to a federal appeals court in Washington, according to a person familiar with the hire who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is now examining the judge’s actions and the larger case against Flynn after lawyers for President Trump’s former national security adviser asked the court to force Sullivan to toss Flynn’s guilty plea.
Wilkinson, known for her top-notch legal skills and get-results style, is expected to file a notice with the court in the coming week about representing the judge. She declined to comment when reached Friday evening. Sullivan also declined to comment through his office.
A federal judge doesn’t typically hire private counsel to respond to an appeals court…
What is Judge Sullivan thinking? A judge tells Court of Appeals he needs a lawyer to represent him on his management and rulings in a case? Where outcome, whether he likes it or not, is obvious under Circuit precedent? Are plaudits for anti-Trump cred worth his reputation? 1/2— Andy McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) May 23, 2020
He’s totally entitled to fume on the record that Flynn looked him in the eye and swore that he lied, that Flynn’s erratic litigation strategy caused the court needless effort, and that he thinks DOJ is wrong. But the law requires him to grant the dismissal. Do your job. 2/2— Andy McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) May 23, 2020
Flynn update via WaPo:— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 23, 2020
Judge Sullivan - ordered to explain his reasons for not granting the DOJ motion to dismiss - has hired a lawyer to apparently do his work for him. pic.twitter.com/7kGeolVRn4
Certainly an odd development. Theres no reason Sullivan can't respond to appeals court order himself.— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 23, 2020
"A federal judge doesn’t typically hire private counsel to respond to an appeals court"
Unsure if the appeals court will allow this.
I am less harsh on the idea of a judge hiring a lawyer, just because his day job might be very busy. But bluntly, I find it weird that he has hired such a high powered attorney who is also likely very expensive on a judge’s salary. Unless he’s pro bono— (((Aaron “Worthing” Walker))) (@AaronWorthing) May 24, 2020
Cc @mVespa1 @PolitiBunny https://t.co/2ry1VufZ8e
DC-based lawyer Aaron Worthing asked if Wilkerson was doing this pro bono since the bill is probably going to be quite steep, especially for someone on a judge’s salary.
There was speculation that Sullivan refused to toss the case, appointed Gleeson to keep it going, and hoped this could spill into after the election, where a Democratic DOJ could drop the motion to dismiss.
If that was the game plan, it could get torpedoed soon.