- The Washington Times - Friday, September 11, 2020

A retired federal judge appointed to review the Justice Department’s push to dismiss the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said in a court filing Friday that the department’s actions seem like a “corrupt, politically motivated favor” done under pressure from President Trump.

John Gleeson, a former New York judge, offered the tough words while recommending the judge overseeing the case deny the Justice Department’s request.

“The government’s attempt to dress up a politically motivated dismissal that smacks of impropriety as a ‘policy judgment,’ should be rejected,” Mr. Gleeson wrote in the court filing.

Mr. Gleeson, who now serves in private practice, was tasked by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to argue against the Justice Department’s effort to drop the case.

In the filing, Mr. Gleeson wrote that the Justice Department, in seeking dismissal, “makes virtually no effort to deny or rebut the powerful evidence” that it is carrying out “a corrupt, politically motivated favor for the President’s friend and ally.”

He also described the department’s actions as “irregular” and Flynn’s guilt as obvious.

“In the United States, Presidents do not orchestrate pressure campaigns to get the Justice Department to drop charges against defendants who have pleaded guilty — twice, before two different judges — and whose guilt is obvious,” Mr. Gleeson wrote.

Flynn attorney Sidney Powell said the Justice Department’s dismissal request was based on evidence uncovered by U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen, who was tapped by Attorney General William Barr to review the case.

“Gleeson’s filing was predictable and meaningless,” Ms. Powell tweeted. “It’s the irrelevant and wrong smear he intended it to be — ignoring the mountain of exculpatory evidence Mr. Jensen unearthed and produced that shows the investigation and prosecution of General Flynn was corrupt from its inception.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Flynn briefly served as Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser and pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his discussions with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the weeks before the Trump administration took over.

Flynn has yet to be sentenced and reversed course last year, professing his innocence and arguing misconduct by both prosecutors and the FBI.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department made a surprise reversal, seeking to abandon its three-year prosecution of Flynn. Justice Department lawyers concluded the FBI was not justified in interviewing Flynn and that his misstatements were not “material” to the overall Russia probe.

That recommendation came after Mr. Trump repeatedly slammed the prosecution of Flynn, even though he had been fired from the administration for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about those conversations with the Russian official.

Mr. Gleeson said the Justice Department caved to Mr. Trump’s criticism, saying department attorneys should have addressed this in the motion to dismiss.

“Indeed, the government nowhere even mentions the President’s personal lobbying, let alone his virulent attacks on those previously involved in this prosecution,” Mr. Gleeson wrote.

“Based entirely on evidence already in the public view, the only coherent explanation for the government’s exceedingly irregular motion — as well as its demonstrable pretexts — is that the Justice Department has yielded to a pressure campaign led by the President for his political associate,” the retired judge continued.

Mr. Gleeson also referred to the recent federal appeals court wrangling to drop Flynn’s case, saying it gave prosecutors “two chances” to explain why they suddenly doubt the case.

A federal appeals court panel earlier this year ruled in Flynn’s favor and directed Judge Sullivan to toss the case. But Judge Sullivan appealed that decision to the full appeals court, which vacated the panel’s decision and returned the case back to the trial court for further review.

Oral arguments to dismiss the case are scheduled for late September.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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