Michael Flynn committed perjury and his guilty plea of lying to the FBI should not be dismissed, a court-appointed adviser argued to a federal judge Wednesday. Former federal judge John Gleeson called the Justice Department’s attempt to undo the conviction “a gross abuse of prosecutorial power,” the Washington Post reports. Gleeson called the DOJ move for dismissal “corrupt” and “politically motivated.” Gleeson added that the former national security adviser’s guilt “could hardly be more provable,” and President Donald Trump has violated “foundational norms of prosecutorial independence.” Flynn “has indeed committed perjury in these proceedings, for which he deserves punishment, and the Court has the authority to initiate a prosecution for that crime,” Gleeson told U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan.
Sullivan has paused Flynn’s case to hear from outside groups and appointed Gleeson to argue against DOJ’s May 7 motion to drop its prosecution of the retired three-star general. Sullivan has set a July 16 hearing to weigh the unusual request, which came after Attorney General William Barr ordered a review of Flynn’s case. DOJ said it concluded that Flynn’s 2017 FBI interview was unjustified. The Justice Department said the interview was “conducted without any legitimate investigative basis,” so any lies Flynn told about contacts with Russia and other foreign governments were immaterial to any crime. In March, Trump said he is “strongly considering” a pardon for Flynn. Gleeson wrote that judges are empowered to protect their court’s integrity “from prosecutors who undertake corrupt, politically motivated dismissals. That is what has happened here.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is expected to hear arguments Friday over Flynn’s request for the appeals court to order Sullivan to drop the prosecution or reassign the case to a different judge.