A former prosecutor, watching the U.S. Department of Justice run from its controversial prosecution of Michael Flynn, says the presiding judge must honor the prosecution’s wish to drop the case.
Ordered by Attorney General Bill Barr to cease its prosecution, the DOJ announced May 7 it was doing so, drawing praise or howls of protest depending on how one views President Trump's former national security advisor, who was unknowingly set up by FBI officials.
Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan is drawing scrutiny after inviting amicus briefs about the case then, just hours later, appointing a former prosecutor to argue the case against Flynn before him.
In an op-ed published at Forbes.com, civil liberty attorney Michael Chenoweth warns that Judge Sullivan is ignoring a U.S. Supreme Court decision from just last week that denounced judges for court-solicited amicus briefs that demonstrate partiality.
The high court’s decision, a unanimous 9-0 ruling, was authored by liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She faulted the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for selectively seeking pro-immigration groups to comment on the case before it. Such a decision, the justice wrote, suggests an effort in “redirection” and “takeover” by the court when the court is restricted to decide the case by what is presented by the parties before them.
Former assistant district attorney Abraham Hamilton III, now general counsel at the American Family Association, says the judge’s invitation for amicus briefs gives “official cover” for groups that oppose Donald Trump to “smear” Flynn and “malign” Barr as a law breaker.
“There is no legal significance of this third party,” Hamilton told American Family Radio. “I've never in my life seen a court where a judge says, Okay, non-parties of the case, you are now free to give your legal opinion."
Hamilton points out that Judge Sullivan already inserted himself in the trial by accusing Flynn of “treason” from the bench, which leaves no doubt how the judge views the defendant and his case.
And the federal judge isn’t done, either. With the prosecution dropping its case, and Flynn set to walk free, Judge Sullivan has appointed John Gleeson to argue the prosecution’s case and more specifically to pursue a perjury charge, too.
In the legal op-ed, Chenoweth writes that if Judge Sullivan does not dismiss the charges against Flynn, "he will duplicate the Ninth Circuit’s violation of the party presentation principle. Hence, he is coming perilously close to completing the very trifecta that drew the Supreme Court’s wrath against the Ninth Circuit."
According to Hamilton, Judge Sullivan’s actions are putting him in potential violation of the Judicial Canon of Ethics.
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.