The US Department of Justice on Monday called for an appeals court to immediately end the proceedings of the prosecution in criminal cases against former US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
The department’s attorneys argued in a 45-page filing to a three-judge appeals court panel that US District Judge Emmet Sullivan is required “by the US constitution” to comply with the DOJ request filed in early May for dismissal of the case against Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigators.
“The Constitution vests in the Executive Branch the power to decide when—and when not—to prosecute potential crimes,” the DOJ officials wrote. “Instead of inviting further proceedings, the court should have granted the government’s motion to dismiss”.
The document said that “the district court failed to grant the motion and bring the case to a close”, adding that Sullivan had “appointed an amicus curiae to argue against dismissal and to consider additional criminal charges” against the former White House official, in defiance of the department’s request.
DOJ lawyers argued that the court has “no authority” to refuse to drop the case and to “initiate criminal charges of its own”.
Flynn pleaded guilty in federal court in December 2017 to giving false statements to the FBI. Flynn was prosecuted for lying to investigators about conversations with then-Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, including regarding prospects for lifting US sanctions against Moscow.
The former White House national security adviser, a Trump appointee, moved to withdraw his guilty plea in January 2020, now claiming that he was innocent and had agreed to plead guilty “in the best interests of my family”.