Judge slows down effort to drop Flynn case

Sullivan’s decision is the latest twist in an extraordinary development in Flynn’s fight to undo his decision to plead guilty to lying to the FBI in 2017. Flynn admitted that he lied to FBI agents who visited him at the White House in an interview that took place just days after Trump took office. The FBI agents reported that Flynn denied speaking about his pre-inauguration contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, contradicting intercepts of those conversations captured by the intelligence community.

Trump fired him after Flynn repeated those positions to Vice President Mike Pence, and he later aided special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as part of his plea agreement.

But Flynn reversed his posture last year, accusing the government of misconduct and moving to withdraw his guilty plea.

Amid efforts to unravel the plea, Justice Department leaders reversed course and decided to drop the case against Flynn, citing improper actions by the FBI in its decision to interview Flynn in the first place. The career prosecutor assigned to the case, Brandon van Grack, withdrew, and the department’s notice to Judge Sullivan was signed only by a close ally of Attorney General William Barr.

The move was hailed by Trump and his supporters but sparked outrage among hundreds of FBI and Justice Department alumni, who accused Barr of orchestrating a political favor for a close ally of Trump.

Sullivan is now weighing the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the case, and his decision to seek new information could upend hopes for a quick resolution by Flynn and his allies.

Sullivan did not say whether he plans to hold a hearing on the government’s motion, but his announcement Tuesday signals that he plans to entertain arguments—at least in writing—against the unified front being presented by the prosecution and defense.

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