Appeals court orders judge to dismiss case against Michael Flynn

Case against Michael Flynn dismissed after order from appeals court

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court in Washington has ordered a judge to dismiss the criminal case against President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit determined it did not have the authority to question the Justice Department’s decision to dismiss its prosecution of Flynn.

“Each of our three coequal branches should be encouraged to self-correct when it errs,” U.S. Circuit Judge Neomi Rao wrote in the court’s majority opinion. “If evidence comes to light calling into question the integrity or purpose of an underlying criminal investigation, the Executive Branch must have the authority to decide that further prosecution is not in the interest of justice.”

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Flynn pleaded guilty twice to lying to prosecutors in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling. However, the Justice Department moved to dismiss the case in May as part of a broader effort by U.S. Attorney General William Barr to scrutinize, and even undo, some of the decisions reached during the Russia investigation, which he has increasingly disparaged.

Trump, who has come to Flynn’s defense several times in recent years, heralded the news Wednesday as, “Great!”

Flynn served just 24 days as Trump’s national security adviser before he was forced to resign after White House officials said he misled Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he had with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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)
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) (Carolyn Kaster/AP)