The decision Wednesday by a federal appeals court to allow the Justice Department to drop charges against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn of making false statements to the FBI followed the law and prior precedents, according to Fox News.
The 2-1 ruling by a panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia was a reprimand to the U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan for acting inappropriately when he sought to block the Justice Department from ending its prosecution of the retired Army lieutenant general.
The appeals court ordered Sullivan to dismiss the case against Flynn immediately without additional review, throwing out Flynn’s guilty plea that was made after prosecutors threatened to file charges against his son. In legal parlance, the court ordered what is known as a writ of mandamus.
The majority opinion, written by Judge Neomi Rao, made clear that Sullivan had exceeded his authority when he refused to dismiss the case against Flynn despite a Justice Department decision to drop the charges and not prosecute the former national security adviser.
The case is “about whether, after the government has explained why a prosecution is no longer in the public interest, the district judge may prolong the prosecution by appointing an amicus, encouraging public participation and probing the government’s motives,” wrote Judge Neomi Rao, a former White House official whom Mr. Trump appointed to the appeals court last year.
She added, “On that, both the Constitution and cases are clear: He may not.”
At a House Judiciary Committee hearing titled “Political Interference and Threats to Prosecutorial Independence” on Wednesday, two Justice Department officials testified about other law enforcement decisions by and under Mr. Barr, Republican lawmakers treated the ruling as corroborating the attorney general’s claim that the Flynn case was unjust on the merits.
“We obviously know the Flynn charge was wrong as evidenced by what happened today,” said Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio.
At the White House, Mr. Trump told reporters he was “very happy about General Flynn,” adding: “He’s been exonerated, and I want to congratulate him.”, sources from The New York Times.
But Representative Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee, called on the full appeals court to review the panel’s decision, arguing at the House hearing that judges should be able to “look into the executive branch when what they do is not in the interest of justice.”