Michael Flynn, former U.S. national security adviser, exits federal court in Washington, D.C., on Monday, June 24, 2019.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Michael Flynn’s lawyers accused a federal judge Wednesday of shedding “any appearance of neutrality” in the criminal case against President Donald Trump‘s former national security advisor.
That claim was made in response to the judge’s appointment of an attorney to oppose the Department of Justice’s request to dismiss the case.
Flynn’s lawyers also said that the judge’s appointee, John Gleeson, “engaged in a flagrant personal and partisan assault” when he argued that the Justice Department committed a “gross abuse of prosecutorial power” in seeking to drop the case.
The “sheer duplicity” of Gleeson’s “scurrilous arguments” against the DOJ “is stunning,” Flynn’s lawyers wrote in a filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
Judge Emmet Sullivan had appointed Gleeson, who himself is a former federal judge, to make legal arguments opposing requests by the Justice Department and Flynn to dismiss the case.
Sullivan also asked Gleeson to advise him on whether Flynn should be held in criminal contempt of court for perjury for twice pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with a former Russian ambassador in the weeks before Trump’s inauguration. He has since sought to withdraw his guilty pleas.
After Gleeson was appointed, Flynn’s lawyers asked a federal appeals court to force Sullivan to drop the case and replace him with another judge for any additional proceedings.
A panel of judges on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., last week heard arguments from lawyers for Flynn, Sullivan and the Justice Department. The appeals court has yet to rule .
Flynn’s lawyers argued in their filing Wednesday that Sullivan had no legal authority to appoint Gleeson, and that he must grant the requests to dismiss the criminal charge against the retired Army lieutenant general.
“This court exceeded its authority under the Constitution” by appointing Gleeson, they wrote.
“This politically motivated quest to destroy General Flynn has been damaging the Rule of Law, the integrity of venerable institutions of government, and now the very structure of our Constitution,” the lawyers wrote.
“This illegal outrage must stop now.”
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