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Appeals court denies Michael Flynn motion to dismiss DOJ case

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  • A federal US appeals court denied former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s motion to dismiss the Justice Department’s case against him.
  • The order is a monumental defeat for Flynn and the Justice Department, whose lawyers have been arguing for the case’s dismissal for months.
  • A three-judge panel from the appeals court initially ordered the judge overseeing Flynn’s case to comply with the DOJ’s motion to dismiss. But the full ten-member appeals court panel overturned that decision on Monday.
  • The case will now go back to US District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who had asked a veteran former judge and prosecutor to review the DOJ’s motion to dismiss. Sullivan also planned to hold a hearing on the motion that was originally scheduled for July.
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A federal US appeals court denied former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s motion to dismiss the Justice Department’s case against him. The order is a monumental defeat for Flynn, whose lawyers have been arguing for the case’s dismissal for months.

Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the US at the time, Sergey Kislyak, regarding US sanctions against Russia.

The former national security adviser initially cooperated with Robert Mueller’s investigators in the Russia probe. But he later shifted course by hiring new attorneys who took a more combative stance and asked to withdraw Flynn’s guilty plea.

The DOJ also later changed tactics in the Flynn case over the objections of some of the original Mueller prosecutors and asked the judge overseeing the case to dismiss it, citing insufficient evidence against Flynn. The move prompted a swift outcry from House Democrats who said it was a political maneuver by Attorney General William Barr to shield Trump associates.

A three-judge panel from the DC circuit court of appeals initially ruled in Flynn and the DOJ’s favor and ordered a lower court judge to toss out the case against the former national security adviser. But the full panel of judges decided to review Flynn’s case last month, marking a potential turning point in the proceedings, because the panel consists of more judges appointed by Democratic presidents (7) than those appointed by Republicans (3).

“As to Petitioner’s first two requests — to compel the immediate grant of the Government’s motion, and to vacate the District Court’s appointment of amicus — Petitioner has not established that he has ‘no other adequate means to attain the relief he desires,'” Monday’s 8-2 ruling said. “We also decline to mandate that the case be reassigned to a different district judge, because Petitioner has not established a clear and indisputable right to reassignment. We therefore deny the Petition.”

The case will now go back to US District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who had previously asked a veteran former judge and prosecutor to review the DOJ’s motion to dismiss. Sullivan also planned to hold a hearing on the motion that was originally scheduled for July.

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