'Everything about this is irregular': Ex-judge tapped to review Flynn case blasts Trump DOJ

Source: Politico | June 10, 2020 | Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney

The retired judge, John Gleeson, said the Justice Department had improperly bowed to the president’s will.

A former judge selected to advise on a path forward in the criminal case against Michael Flynn is accusing the Justice Department of exercising a “gross abuse of prosecutorial power” to protect an ally of President Donald Trump, distorting known facts and legal principles to shield Flynn from a jail sentence.

The former federal judge, John Gleeson, skewered Attorney General Bill Barr’s handling of the case, describing it as an “irregular” effort that courts would “scoff” at were the subject anyone other than an ally of Trump. The 82-page excoriation featured a painstaking reconstruction of the Flynn case and accused DOJ of contradicting its own arguments and precedents to justify dropping the case against Flynn.

“Even recognizing that the Government is entitled to deference in assessing the strength of its case, these claims are not credible,” Gleeson wrote. “Indeed, they are preposterous.”

Gleeson is recommending that the judge overseeing the case, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan, instead proceed to sentence the former Trump national security adviser on the false-statement charge he admitted to two-and-a-half years ago — and later rescinded.

The Flynn saga is one of the highest-profile remaining legal matters facing Trump allies. It could drive up pressure on the president to pardon Flynn or commute his sentence in the heat of his reelection campaign.

“The facts surrounding the filing of the Government’s motion constitute clear evidence of gross prosecutorial abuse. They reveal an unconvincing effort to disguise as legitimate a decision to dismiss that is based solely on the fact that Flynn is a political ally of President Trump,” Gleeson wrote in a filing Wednesday with Sullivan, who formally tapped Gleeson to weigh in as a friend of the court.

However, Gleeson urged Sullivan not to pursue contempt proceedings against Flynn for seemingly contradictory statements made about his actions. Though there is “ample” evidence to support such a move, Gleeson recommended factoring it into Flynn’s sentencing for his initial guilty plea rather than initiating new action related to the about-face.

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