Hans von Spakovsky: Flynn Still Needs Liberal Judge to Accept Dropped Charges

Gen. Michael Flynn, former national security adviser to US President Donald Trump, leaves Federal Court on December 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Donald Trump's former top advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying over his contacts with Russia, in a dramatic escalation of the FBI's probe into possible collusion …
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Discretion over whether to accept the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) bid to drop criminal charges against President Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn lies with a left-wing judge presiding over the case, explained Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Reform Initiative and a senior legal fellow of the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

Flynn is not out of the legal woods yet, warned von Spakovsky on Thursday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour and special guest host Ed Martin.

“While what happened today is terrific, everybody needs to keep something in mind,” cautioned von Spakovsky. “Yeah, the government filed a motion to dismiss the criminal prosecution of Michael Flynn with prejudice, but, that has to be approved by the judge in this case, and the judge in this case, Judge [Emmet] Sullivan, he’s a real liberal and he’s a bit eccentric, I guess is a polite way to [say] it.”

Von Spakovsky recalled Judge Emmet Sullivan’s derision of Flynn on December 18, 2018, when the judge said, “Arguably, you sold your country out.” He observed the similarity between Sullivan’s comments and those made by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

Maddow herself noted the parallel between her remarks and those of Sullivan’s:

Von Spakovsky stated, “People should not forget that at one point in his courtroom, [Emmet Sullivan] started on this crazy rant against Flynn, calling him a traitor, but there’s no such evidence of him being a traitor in the file. Apparently it was because he had been watching Rachel Maddow on MSNBC going after Flynn.”

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Von Spakovsky added, “Hopefully [Emmet Sullivan] will simply approve this, but while Flynn is in a heck of a lot better shape now, we’ve got to wait and see what Sullivan does with this.”

“The essence of what the Justice Department says is something we’ve all been saying now for quite awhile, which is that there was no justification [and] no evidence that would support Flynn even being investigated in the first place,” von Spakovsky remarked.

Brandon van Grack, the prosecutor in Flynn’s trial and an alumnus of the Robert Mueller-led operation, should be “punished” by the the DOJ for prosecutorial misconduct, estimated von Spakovsky.

“What has to happen is — and this is on [FBI Director] Chris Wray and frankly, it’s on [Attorney General William Barr], too — the lawyers of the Justice Department who were involved in this [and] the FBI agents who were involved in this have to be punished, and that means disciplined, and terminated, and also  — to the extent anyone violated federal criminal laws — prosecuted,” determined von Spakovsky.

Von Spakovsky, added, “At the very least, if it’s shown that DOJ lawyers failed to turn over exculpatory evidence — and that seems pretty clear, the DOJ prosecutors and people from the special counselor’s office apparently didn’t do that — what ought to happen is the Office of Professional Responsibility at the Justice Department needs to write letters to the state bar associations of these federal prosecutors notifying of this so that the bar associations can start disciplinary proceedings against these lawyers, because their bar licenses need to be either suspended or possibly terminated for doing that.”

The government’s obligation to share exculpatory evidence with a defendant is set by the Supreme Court, explained von Spakovsky. “It is a requirement the U.S. Supreme Court has set out,” he said. “If a prosecutor has exculpatory evidence — evidence that shows the defendant may be innocent — they have to turn it over to the defendant.”

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