WASHINGTON (CN) — Michael Flynn fired back Wednesday at the former judge appointed by the court to fight dismissal of his prosecution, denouncing the arguments leveled against him last week as a “wrap-up smear.”
“It is an affront to the Rule of Law and a raging insult to the citizens of this country who see the abject corruption in this assassination by political prosecution of General Flynn,” Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell wrote, referring to the brief filed by court-appointed amicus John Gleeson. “This court exuviated any appearance of neutrality when it unlawfully appointed amicus as its own adversary to make these scurrilous arguments.”
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who took over the prosecution shortly after Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI, brought in Gleeson now that Flynn is claiming innocence and the Justice Department says it no longer considers Flynn’s statements to be materially false.
A retired Army general, Flynn served as President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser — a job he held for less than a month before evidence was leaked showing that he had secretly discussed sanctions with a Russian ambassador.
In Wednesday’s brief, however, defense attorney Powell seizes on a report by U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen that Flynn was the target of a baseless and politically motivated investigation by the FBI intended to undercut the incoming Trump administration.
Powell says Gleeson ignored the evidence uncovered by Jensen, whose investigation was ordered by Attorney General William Barr, and accuses Gleeson of hurling flagrant partisan attacks that stain Flynn as well as the attorney general and President Trump.
“This court, in essence, appointed its own special prosecutor — adversarial to the attorney general and the defendant — to extend the prosecution of General Flynn and to consider and suggest further charges or punishment be used against him,” Powell wrote.
Calling Flynn’s treatment unprecedented, Powell included three pages of cases in her Wednesday brief that she says demonstrate times when both district and circuit courts have dismissed prosecutions following guilty pleas or post-sentencing.
Gleeson on the other hand has urged Sullivan to deny the request and proceed with sentencing Flynn, pointing to “inexplicable and elementary errors of law and fact” in the government’s motion.,
“The government has engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the president,” the retired judge wrote in an 82-page brief. Though now an attorney at Debevoise & Plimpton, Gleeson is a former prosecutor who also served as a judge for 22 years in the Eastern District of New York.
Gleeson said Flynn’s close ties to the president, who has loudly defended the former top-level adviser, are not reason enough to drop the prosecution.
“Only by acting as a rubber stamp could the court presume that all of this is regular and that the government’s reasons here are anything but pretextual,” he wrote.
Flynn was the second defendant to plead guilty in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
Separate from the District Court proceedings, Flynn has asked D.C. Circuit to force Judge Sullivan’s dismissal of his prosecution. The federal appeals court heard arguments on this matter last week.