A federal appeals court denied former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s attempt to force a trial-court judge to grant the U.S. Justice Department’s surprise motion to dismiss the criminal case against him.
The decision Monday by a rare “en banc” panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington reversed an earlier decision by a three-judge panel that ruled the trial judge had no choice but to toss the case out.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who presided over the case and had accepted Flynn’s guilty plea for lying to federal agents, argued through his own lawyer that he should be allowed to question the Justice Department about whether it was dropping the case as a favor to a political ally of President Donald Trump.
Attorney General William Barr’s Justice Department said in May it was dropping the case because it determined Flynn’s false statements weren’t “material” to the agents’ investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. It also said the FBI agents Flynn lied to essentially set him up to fail -- claims repeatedly echoed by Trump. Long after pleading guilty, Flynn sought to withdraw his plea and the Justice Department and Trump backed him.
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