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Fired Trump aide Mike Flynn LOSES bid to have his criminal case dismissed

A federal appeals court won’t order the dismissal of the Michael Flynn prosecution, ruling Monday that a judge is entitled to scrutinize the Justice Department’s request to dismiss its case against the former Trump administration national security adviser.

The decision keeps the case at least temporarily alive. In May, the Justice Department moved to dismiss the prosecution even though Flynn himself had pleaded guilty and admitted lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation. 

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.

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. 

The ruling allows U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to hear arguments on whether he must grant the Justice Department’s request to drop the case.

Go-ahead for hearing: Federal appeals judges ruled 8-2 that Judge Emmet Sullivan cannot be ordered to accept Mike Flynn withdrawing his guilty plea and can go ahead with an inquiry into the DOJ's handling of the case.

Go-ahead for hearing: Federal appeals judges ruled 8-2 that Judge Emmet Sullivan cannot be ordered to accept Mike Flynn withdrawing his guilty plea and can go ahead with an inquiry into the DOJ's handling of the case.

Go-ahead for hearing: Federal appeals judges ruled 8-2 that Judge Emmet Sullivan cannot be ordered to accept Mike Flynn withdrawing his guilty plea and can go ahead with an inquiry into the DOJ’s handling of the case. 

Courtroom drama back on:  Judge Emmet Sullivan is now cleared to hold new hearings into the Flynn case. Flynn's only hope is to ask the Supreme Court to intervene

Courtroom drama back on:  Judge Emmet Sullivan is now cleared to hold new hearings into the Flynn case. Flynn’s only hope is to ask the Supreme Court to intervene

The judge has said he is ‘not a rubber stamp’ and wants to carefully scrutinize the Justice Department’s request before deciding whether to grant it.

Federal appeals judges in Washington D.C. initially ruled 2-1 that the judge be ordered to abandon the Flynn case but the judge appealed to the entire circuit for a hearing known as en banc, meaning all judges take part. 

At issue before the court was whether 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. 

Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, pleaded guilty two times to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia´s then-ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, concerning U.S. sanctions imposed on Moscow under President Barack Obama.

While awaiting sentencing by Sullivan, Flynn sought to withdraw his plea, switching lawyers to pursue a scorched-earth approach that accused the FBI of setting him up.

Trump has said Flynn was treated unfairly in the case.

The Department of Justice withdrew support for the prosecution and lined up with Flynn’s attempt to force the judge to order the case dropped.

The ruling was 8-2 by the entire federal appeal circuit in Washington D.C., traditionally the second-most powerful court in the country. One judge sat out the case.

The two to rule in his favor were Trump-appointee Neomi Rao and Reagan-appointee Karen Henderson.

Flynn’s only chance of overturning it is an application to the Supreme Court for the justices to hear his case.

Sidney Powell, a lawyer for Flynn, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  

Flynn was questioned by the FBI at the White House, just days after Trump’s inauguration, about his conversations with the then-Russian ambassador to the U.S. pertaining to sanctions that had just been imposed by the Obama administration for election interference.

The conversation alarmed law enforcement and intelligence officials who were already investigating whether the Trump campaign had coordinated with Russia to sway the presidential election in Trump’s favor. 

They were puzzled by the White House’s public insistence that Flynn and the diplomat had not discussed sanctions.

But the Justice Department argued in May that the FBI had insufficient basis to interrogate Flynn about that conversation, which Attorney General William Barr has described as fully appropriate for an incoming national security adviser to have had. 

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