Federal Judge Considers Holding Michael Flynn in Contempt of Court as Legal Parting Shot

Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, discusses global threats during the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado, July 26, 2014. (DoD photo by Claudette Roulo)

The federal judge tasked with overseeing criminal proceedings against retired three-star general and former White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is appointing a retired judge to consider possible criminal contempt charges, in what could be called a legal parting shot after the Department of Justice dismissed charges citing new evidence of FBI misconduct in the January 2017 investigation of Flynn.

Judge Emmet Sullivan is appointing “John Gleeson (Ret.) as amicus curiae to present arguments in opposition to the government’s Motion to Dismiss,” the judge wrote.  “[I]t is further ORDERED that amicus curiae shall address whether the Court should issue an Order to Show Cause why Mr. Flynn should not be held in criminal contempt for perjury.

Stringent liberal legal advocacy groups have already taken the rare and arguably unprecedented step of filing amicus curiae petitions with the court in support of continued prosecution of Flynn for process crimes. It’s traditionally the imperative of the federal government to fill the role of the prosecution in criminal proceedings, and it’s doubtless that the group of ‘Watergate Prosecutors’ are fuming at the mouth at the prospect of Flynn’s vindication in light of severe FBI misconduct.

Sullivan’s reference to a possible contempt of court ruling seems to involve Flynn’s change of his guilty plea in February, which be described as the result of faulty counsel from his original lawyers in the case who insisted he plead as such. The judge apparently views it as a waste of the court’s time to seek to change a plea so late in criminal proceedings, even though new evidence quickly suggested Flynn’s argument for his innocence was more than plentiful.

It’s ultimately doubtful that a federal judge can continue the prosecution of a defendant without a federal prosecutor, but the delay in the end of the proceedings will give third-party liberal lawyers a chance to put in some final parting shots.