The federal judge overseeing former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s criminal case has hired an attorney to represent him as an appeals court reviews his decision not to immediately grant the Justice Department’s request to dismiss the case.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has hired well-known trial attorney Beth Wilkinson to help draft a response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s demand that he address allegations of partisanship lodged by Flynn’s legal team.
Ms. Wilkinson is one of the top Beltway names when it comes to legal representation, with a roster of high-profile clients. She represented then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when he battled sexual misconduct allegations in 2018.
Ms. Wilkinson is also a former prosecutor, who rose to prominence pursuing the death penalty for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
It is an unusual move in a case that has become one of the most unique and polarizing criminal cases in years.
The Washington Post first reported the development late Saturday night.
Ms. Wilkinson is expected to notify the court of her representation of Judge Sullivan later this week. She will also be writing a legal brief on Judge Sullivan’s behalf that will be submitted to the appellate court.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department requested Judge Sullivan drop the prosecution of Flynn for lying to FBI officials about his 2016 phone call with the then-Russian ambassador. But Judge Sullivan has rebuffed that request.
Instead, he appointed a former New York federal judge to argue against the Justice Department’s push for dismissal. The former judge, John Gleeson, will also review whether Flynn should be held in contempt for recanting his guilty plea.
Flynn last week went directly to the appellate court asking them to dismiss the case and remove Judge Sullivan from any further proceedings if there are any.
In response, the appellate court issued a stunning order demanding Judge Sullivan explain himself by June 1.