Judge Sullivan to Consider Criminal Contempt Charge Against Michael Flynn

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: A handful of demonstrators held signs outside the Prettyman Federal Courthouse where Michael Flynn, former national security advisor to President Donald Trump, had his plea hearing December 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged Flynn with one count of making a false …
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan will consider whether to find former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in criminal contempt of court after the Department of Justice (DOJ) moved last week to drop its prosecution of Flynn for lying to the FBI.

Sullivan issued an order Wednesday appointing retired judge John Gleeson as amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) to argue against the DOJ’s motion to dismiss the case, as well as to advise the court on whether it should begin contempt proceedings.

Gleeson was appointed by President Bill Clinton, as was Sullivan. On Tuesday, Sullivan said he would entertain amicus curiae briefs from outside parties, such as the anti-Trump “Watergate Prosecutors,” advising him about whether to allow the case to be dropped.

The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provide that a judge “may summarily punish a person who commits criminal contempt in its presence if the judge saw or heard the contemptuous conduct and so certifies.” However, it would be very unusual for a judge to find a defendant in contempt merely for exercising his right to change a prior guilty plea.

In withdrawing its case against Flynn, the DOJ did not say Flynn had not lied, but that his lies were not “material” because Flynn was not actually being investigated by the FBI for any offense at the time he made false statements to FBI agents.

In December 2017, Flynn accepted a plea bargain from Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team, and pleaded guilty. But by December 2018, as Flynn awaited sentencing, more details about the strange circumstances in which the FBI had initially spoken to Flynn began to emerge. As Breitbart News reported, Flynn’s lawyers pointed out “the possibility of entrapment, the fact that the deputy director of the FBI had advised Flynn not to have counsel present when he was interviewed by the FBI, and that the agents who interviewed him later said that he did not appear to have lied.”

Sullivan was not moved. “I cannot recall any incident in which the court has accepted a plea of guilty from someone who maintained he was not guilty and I don’t intend to start today.” He asked Flynn whether he wanted to change his guilty plea, and Flynn declined to do so.

The judge then launched a tirade against Flynn, even asking prosecutors whether he should have been tried for treason.

Afterwards, the judge was forced to apologize when it was pointed out that he had mistakenly accused Flynn of being an unregistered foreign agent while he was working in the White House. Flynn ended his foreign contract in November 2016.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.