The court-appointed counsel charged with reviewing the Justice Department's effort to drop the charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn found it “gross” on every level, according to the Washington Post.
“The Government has engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the President," wrote retired federal judge John Gleeson, who had been appointed by the judge handling the case to review the Justice Department's effort to drop the case against Flynn.
Flynn had "indeed committed perjury" during the proceedings by pleading guilty and then withdrawing his plea, Gleeson found, but he recommended against pursuing that charge separately. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan had asked Gleeson to weigh bringing additional perjury charges against Flynn for his reversals under oath in front of the court.
Instead, Gleeson wrote in an 82-page opinion, the court "should take Flynn’s perjury into account in sentencing him on the offense to which he has already admitted guilt.” Flynn pleaded guilty several times in court to lying to the FBI during an interview in 2017. Gleeson argued, “This approach—rather than a separate prosecution for perjury or contempt—aligns with the Court’s intent to treat this case, and this Defendant, in the same way it would any other.”
And that's the point, right? Flynn shouldn't be getting special treatment of any kind, not by the judge and not by Attorney General Barr and his Department of Justice.
In urging Sullivan to continue hearing the case, Gleeson argues that judges have the authority to protect the court from "prosecutors who undertake corrupt, politically motivated dismissals. That is what has happened here." Gleeson also called the Justice Department's attempt to drop the charges "a gross abuse of prosecutorial power."
That sure sounds like the handiwork of the Billy Barr the country has come to know and hate.
In its dismissal request, the Justice Department had argued that the FBI's 2017 interview of Flynn had been conducted without a "legitimate investigative purpose." Gleeson called bullpucky, saying the department's claims had been “conclusively disproven” by its own briefs filed earlier in the case.
A federal appeals court is set to hear arguments on Friday over whether it should force Judge Sullivan to dismiss the case. The appeal is an effort by Barr to go over Sullivan's head and strong arm him into dropping the matter. Gleeson's findings of Barr's "gross" abuse of power will now serve as a backdrop to those proceedings.
Published with permission of Daily Kos