- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2020

The federal judge overseeing the case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Thursday asked a federal appeals court to reconsider its decision to drop the prosecution.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan filed a petition with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the case after a three-judge panel ordered him to drop it.

“The panel’s decision threatens to turn ordinary judicial process upside down,” Judge Sullivan’s attorney wrote in the petition. “It is the district court’s job to consider and rule on pending motions, even ones that seem straightforward. This Court, if called upon, reviews those decisions — it does not preempt them.”

Judge Sullivan has resisted calls to dismiss the Flynn case even as the Justice Department sought to abandon the prosecution. Flynn had pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the then-Russian ambassador just before the Trump administration took over.

The Justice Department in a surprise move said the FBI never should have been interviewing Flynn in the first place and his statements were not material to the bureau’s Russia investigation.

Judge Sullivan still delayed dismissing the case. But a three-judge Court of Appeals panel last month said he must dismiss the case because he didn’t have the authority to question the Justice Department’s decision.

“In this case, the district court’s actions will result in specific harms to the exercise of the Executive Branch’s exclusive prosecutorial power,” Judge Neomi Rao, who was appointed by President Trump, wrote in the majority opinion.

“If evidence comes to light calling into question the integrity or purpose of an underlying criminal investigation, the Executive Branch must have the authority to decide that further prosecution is not in the interest of justice,” Rao added.

The court has not yet responded to Judge Sullivan’s petitions, but rehearings of cases are very rare.

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