Law & the Courts

Appeals Court Orders Judge to Allow DOJ to Drop Michael Flynn Case

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn exits a vehicle as he arrives for his sentencing hearing at District Court in Washington, D.C., December 18, 2018. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a federal court to end the case against former national-security adviser Michael Flynn on Wednesday.

After the Justice Department dropped its case against Flynn, the presiding judge appointed a third party to “to present arguments in opposition” to the DOJ’s decision. The Wednesday ruling by the Circuit Court vacates the Flynn judge’s order.

“The District Court is directed to grant the government’s…motion to dismiss; and the District Court’s order appointing an amicus is hereby vacated as moot,” reads the opinion by the Circuit Court.

Judge Neomi Rao, a Trump appointee, filed the opinion by the court, joined by George H.W. Bush appointee Karen LeCraft Henderson. Judge Robert L. Wilkins, an Obama appointee, dissented in part.

The ruling could end the case against Flynn entirely, which has been ongoing for over two years. Flynn initially pleaded guilty to one count of lying to FBI investigators, but later reversed his plea.

Investigators homed in on Flynn in 2016 for purported connections to Russian officials including Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. However, while Flynn had conversed with Kislyak before joining the Trump administration in 2017, the former adviser was never found guilty of a crime involving collusion with Russian officials.

In May, the Justice Department announced that a January 24, 2017, interview with FBI agents that led to Flynn pleading guilty to lying to investigators was “conducted without any legitimate investigative basis.”

“The Government is not persuaded that the…interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe that Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue,” the DOJ’s decision states. “Moreover, we do not believe that the Government can prove either the relevant false statements or their materiality beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is also a violist, and has served in the Israeli Defense Forces.


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