A federal appeals court will rehear a challenge on whether charges against former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn must be dropped. It was the latest twist in a long legal drama in the last remaining criminal case from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, reports the Wall Street Journal. The full U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., will consider whether a lower court judge must dismiss the charges against Flynn, or whether that judge may proceed with an inquiry into the circumstances that led the Justice Department to withdraw charges even after obtaining his guilty plea. A three-judge panel ruled last month that trial Judge Emmet Sullivan had no choice but to dismiss the charges against Flynn and had overstepped his authority when he appointed a retired judge to act as a lawyer to argue against the government’s motion.
Judge Sullivan asked for the full appeals court to rehear that decision. Arguments are set for Aug. 11 before ten judges. The criminal case against Flynn, a former military intelligence officer who became a confidant of Donald Trump in 2016, stems from statements he made in January 2017 about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. before Trump’s inauguration. He was forced out of the administration in its first month over his statements to other officials about his contacts with the Russians. Flynn pled guilty to a single charge of lying to the FBI. Cooperation with the government delayed his sentencing. Last year, he abruptly changed tactics, ending his cooperation with the government, firing his legal team, and seeking to withdraw his guilty plea arguing that the government had withheld exculpatory evidence and that the FBI had mishandled his initial interview.