- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 19, 2020

A group of 15 Republican state attorneys general late Monday filed a motion calling for a federal judge to drop the case against President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

The group, led by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, also warned U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is overseeing the Flynn case, to stay out of politics.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department filed a motion to dismiss the Flynn case, arguing the FBI did not have a sufficient basis to interview Flynn and statements he made during the interview were not material to the broader investigation into alleged ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The statements Flynn made during his interview with the FBI eventually led to his prosecution for lying to investigators. He initially pleaded guilty, but later relented and sought to withdraw that plea.

Judge Sullivan appears to be resisting the Justice Department’s push to abandon the Flynn case. Last week, he appointed a retired federal judge to review the Justice Department’s argument and evaluate whether Flynn could be held in contempt.

The state attorneys general in their filing argued that the Justice Department, which is part of the Executive Branch, has the sole authority to drop criminal charges.

“There was no reason to issue these orders because this Court has no say in the federal government’s decision not to prosecute,” they wrote. “Simply put, the decision not to pursue a criminal conviction is vested in the executive branch alone — and neither the legislature nor the judiciary has any role in the executive’s making of that decision.”

But they also warned Judge Sullivan against inserting the court “into the Justice Department’s exercise of prosecutorial discretion.”

“The court should grant the motion [to dismiss] without commentary on the decision to charge or not to charge, because such punditry disrobes the judiciary of its cloak of impartiality.”

The brief Monday is the latest in what is expected to be a slew of third parties weighing in on the Flynn case. Judge Sullivan said earlier this month he would allow interesting parties to opine about the case, an unusual move in a criminal proceeding.

In addition to Mr. Yost, the brief was signed by attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

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