A federal judge said late Tuesday that he would allow third parties to weigh in on Michael Flynn’s case, an unusual move delaying the court’s response to the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the criminal charges against the former national security adviser.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan issued a fairly lengthy order saying “at the appropriate time” he will set a schedule for interested parties — known as amicus curiae — to comment on the case.
The move will allow critics and supporters of dropping the criminal charges against Flynn to offer their opinions.
An amicus brief is usually submitted when a third party could be affected by the court’s decision or has unique information not previously presented in the case. It is very rare for a judge to request such motions in a criminal case.
Judge Sullivan’s brief also quoted Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who oversaw the criminal cases against other members of the Trump campaign, including Roger Stone and Paul Manafort.
“As Judge Amy Berman Jackson has observed ‘while there may be individuals with an interest in this matter, a criminal proceeding is not a free for all,’ ” he wrote.
The Justice Department shocked Washington last week when it moved to dismiss the criminal charges against Flynn, who pleaded guilty about his conversations with a Russian ambassador during the transition period in 2016.
The lead prosecutor in the case, who had overseen it since 2017, abruptly withdrew before the motion was filed Thursday.
Judge Sullivan, a President Clinton appointee, needs to approve dropping the charges. Typically, judges follow the Justice Department’s recommendations, but Judge Sullivan has been a harsh critic of Flynn.
In 2018, the judge accused Flynn of selling “your country out.”