A Federal appeals court has set a tight schedule for a hearing in the case of former Trump adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, whos accusing a lower level judge of undue delay in dismissing his case.
The District of Columbia ordered on June 2 an oral argument in 10 days, when it will hear from Flynns lawyers, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and from a lawyer for District Judge Emmet Sullivan on whether the judge does or doesnt have the authority to delay ruling on the DOJs motion to dismiss the case.
The 10 day notice is tighter than it may seem, commented appellate attorney John Reeves, former assistant attorney general of Missouri, in a June 2 series of tweets.
“For non-lawyers, a ten day notice for oral argument may seem like a long time, but it isnt. Its an increidibly [sic] short amount of time,” he said, noting that the usual time would be 30 days or more.
“The setting of oral argument shows that the DC Circuit is gravely concerned about this matter, and wants to hear further from all sides,” he said. “This will give the DC Circuit the opportunity to pepper Sullivans lawyer with as many questions as they want about the arguments raised in her brief. They can interrupt her as much as they want.”
Flynn, a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration and former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty in 2017 to one count of lying during an FBI interview. In January, he disavowed the plea and asked the court to allow him to withdraw it.
The DOJ moved to drop Flynns case on May 7, saying the FBI interview wasnt based on a properly predicated investigation and “seems to have been undertaken only to elicit those very false statements and thereby criminalize Mr. Flynn.”
Sullivan has so far refused to affirm the dismissal and has instead laid out a schedule that would prolong the case for possibly months. Hes appointed former federal Judge John Gleeson as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) “to present arguments in opposition to the governments Motion to Dismiss,” as well as to “address” whether the court should make the defense explain why “Flynn should not be held in criminal contempt for perjury.”
Hes also signaled he may allow more amici to join the case.
Flynns lawyers, led by former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, on May 19 filed a petition for a writ of mandamus—a request to the higher court to order Sullivan to accept the case dismissal, cancel the Gleeson appointment, and assign the case to another judge.
The appeals court gave Sullivan 10 days to respond, upon which he hired highly-connected D.C. attorney Beth Wilkinson to do so for him.
Wilkinson has argued that the DOJ motion to dismiss is so unusual, the judge needs more information to evaluate it.
Her argument, however, doesnt address the substance of the documents the DOJ cited as a reason for dismissing the case.