Judge Weighs Holding Michael Flynn In Contempt, Keeping Guilty Plea In Place

The federal judge overseeing the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn is considering holding him in criminal contempt for perjury and has appointed a former judge to argue against the Trump administration’s attempt to drop the case against him.

In an order on Wednesday evening, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan exercised his “inherent authority” to appoint former judge John Gleeson to present arguments in opposition to the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the case against the former Trump administration official. Gleeson co-authored a Washington Post op-ed titled “The Flynn Case Isn’t Over Until the Judge Says It’s Over.” 

Sullivan asked the Gleeson to write up a brief to address whether Sullivan “should issue an Order to Show Cause why Mr. Flynn should not be held in criminal contempt for perjury.”

Sullivan’s order points to the glaring issue with the Trump administration’s attempt to dismiss the charges against a man who twice pleaded guilty in federal court to lying to the FBI about his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States: If Flynn didn’t, in fact, lie to the FBI about his communications with the ambassador, then he lied to the judge when he repeatedly swore in court that he was guilty of that crime. 

The New York Times reported earlier Wednesday that a former FBI official whose notes the Justice Department used as an excuse for dropping the Flynn charges told FBI officials last week that DOJ was interpreting his notes wrong.

Bill Priestap, the Times reported, told members of his former bureau that notes about the “goal” of an FBI interview with Flynn were about his thoughts ahead of a meeting with FBI leadership about the Flynn interview. The Justice Department painted those notes as evidence of a perjury trap.

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