In an astounding ruling, the D.C. circuit of the Court of Appeals has ordered the district court to accept the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) motion to dismiss all charges against Michael Flynn. This action completely overturns the actions of U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan and explicitly dismisses the findings of former federal judge John Gleeson, who was appointed by Sullivan to review the case following the DOJ’s extraordinary move to end prosecution.
Two weeks ago, Gleeson produced a lengthy document that blasted the DOJ’s efforts to undermine and withdraw from their own case. But all of Gleeson’s findings appear to be set aside by this brief ruling.
Making the ruling even more unusual, even though it was Flynn’s attorneys who filed for writ of mandamus, it appears the appeals court has ruled in favor of … the DOJ, which was not a party to that claim. And it comes following previous suggestions that the appeals court was prepared to reject Flynn’s appeal.
This surprise ruling comes from a three-judge panel and was authored by Trump-appointed Judge Neomi Rao. During arguments, Rao appeared reluctant to accept Flynn’s plea and questioned what harm would be done by allowing a hearing where Judge Sullivan could question the DOJ attorneys.
Marcy Wheeler suggests that the actual motivation behind Rao’s out-of-right-field decision has little to do with law.
“Rao’s opinion makes no attempt to defend Flynn’s argument. Rather, her order is entirely about preventing DOJ—Bill Barr—from the embarrassment of being forced to explain his decision.”
Despite the celebration on the right, expect this to be back in front of the entire Appeals Court — and don’t expect that court to blindly stamp Rao’s highly unusual claims of DOJ inerrancy.
Now: DC Circuit directs Flynn judge to dismiss prosecution, per new order: pic.twitter.com/w6C5Bc2jtP
— Mike Scarcella (@MikeScarcella) June 24, 2020