More than a dozen former Watergate prosecutors on Friday urged a federal appeals court to deny an emergency request by Michael Flynn to dismiss his criminal case.
A total of 16 former Watergate prosecutors filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the D.C. Court of Appeals said U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan should be allowed to decide the case without interference from the Justice Department.
Flynn, who briefly served as President Trump’s national security adviser, pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI in a January 2017 interview about his contacts with the then-Russian ambassador.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department asked Judge Sullivan to toss the case saying Flynn was set-up by the FBI. Judge Sullivan so far has refused, a rare act of defiance by a judge in response to a Justice Department request.
But the Watergate prosecutors argued that Judge Sullivan is “not required to serve as a rubber stamp” for the Justice Department.
In their brief, the Watergate prosecutors wrote that judges should “exercise independent judgment when deciding a motion to dismiss federal charges.”
“Independent judgment is unquestionably informed by an adversary presentation in which all parties are not singing from the same hymnbook,” they wrote.
Sidney Powell, who is representing Flynn, called the prosecutors’ brief “politics at its worst — infecting the Rule of Law.”
Flynn’s legal time has petitioned the federal appeals court to dismiss the charges and remove Judge Sullivan from the case if there are any further proceedings.
Although Judge Sullivan has not officially rejected the Justice Department’s call to end the Flynn case, he has not accepted their request either.
Instead, he appointed a former New York federal judge, who has criticized the Trump administration’s handling of the Flynn case, to argue against dismissal and also investigate whether the former Trump administration official should be held in contempt for perjury.
The three-judge panel overseeing the Flynn case for the appellate court on Thursday asked Judge Sullivan to respond to Flynn’s petition to dismiss the case.