Politics

Appeals court keeps Flynn case alive, won’t order dismissal

FILE - In this Dec. 18, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump's former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn arrives at federal court in Washington. A former federal judge appointed to review the Justice Department's motion to dismiss criminal charges against ex-national security Michael Flynn has found that the government's request should be denied because there is “clear evidence of a gross abuse of prosecutorial power.” Former U.S. District Judge John Gleeson says in a filing Wednesday that the government “has engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the President.” (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court won’t order the dismissal of the Michael Flynn prosecution, permitting a judge to scrutinize the Justice Department’s request to dismiss its case against the former Trump administration national security adviser.

The decision Monday keeps the matter at least temporarily alive and rejects efforts by both Flynn’s lawyers and the Justice Department to force the prosecution to be dropped without any further hearings from the judge.

Federal prosecutors moved in May to dismiss the prosecution even though Flynn himself had pleaded guilty and admitted lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation about his contacts with a Moscow diplomat. After a judge refused to immediately dismiss the case, his lawyers asked a federal appeals court to step in and force him to do so.

At issue before the court was whether U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan could be forced to grant the Justice Department’s request without even holding a hearing to scrutinize the basis for the request.

“We have no trouble answering that question in the negative,” the court wrote in an unsigned opinion.

Flynn was the only person charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation who had been a White House official. Mueller’s probe investigated ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

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