Ex-Judge Who Took On Mob Comes Aboard Flynn Case

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Although the Justice Department has moved to drop their charges against former Trump administration official and continued Trump ally Michael Flynn, the case is not over yet. US District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is handling Flynn’s case, still has to issue a final ruling on the Justice Department’s motion, it seems. Now, he has appointed a famed former judge to serve as a “friend of the court” and develop arguments against the Justice Department’s attempt to let Flynn off the hook. Over his more than twenty years as a judge and years before that as a prosecutor, John Gleeson took on many high-profile cases, including those in which the defendants were members of organized crime — and now, he’s taking on the Trump team.

In the past, as a federal prosecutor, Gleeson successfully won a case against Gambino family crime boss John Gotti and numerous other mobsters. Gleeson served as chief of the organized crime division of the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office where he worked. One former prosecutor who appeared in Gleeson’s courtroom once he became a judge told CNN that the then-judge demanded that prosecutors adhere “to a standard that was super high in every way” — which doesn’t sound good for the government prosecutors on Flynn’s side.

Prior to Sullivan’s decision to actually appoint Gleeson as a counsel for the court, the former judge had written alongside two other former Justice Department officials that he believed that the judge should take that exact step. As they explained in a piece for The Washington Post:

‘[If] prosecutors attempt to dismiss a well-founded prosecution for impermissible or corrupt reasons, the people would be ill-served if a court blindly approved their dismissal request. The independence of the court protects us all when executive-branch decisions smack of impropriety; it also protects the judiciary itself from becoming a party to corruption.’

Now, CNN summarizes, Gleeson will “articulate an argument against the Department of Justice’s effort to end the prosecution and will weigh whether Flynn should face a perjury charge for contradictory statements he has given the court.” In other words, no matter the best efforts from loyal Trump shill and Attorney General Bill Barr, Flynn isn’t out of the woods just yet. He could still face other charges over this debacle.

The basis for the Justice Department’s decision to move to drop Flynn’s case is flimsy at best. They insist that the case was excessive from the start, but they do not appear to contest any of the case’s actual basic facts. Flynn lied to federal investigators in an attempt to cover up his communications with the then-Russian Ambassador to the United States, and in the time since, Trump and his allies have routinely attempted to cast any effort to hold them accountable for their behavior as some kind of witch hunt. It’s not.

This case is not the first in which Barr’s Justice Department has intervened to help a Trump ally. Higher-ups also intervened to lower the government’s initial sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, who was found guilty of a slew of obstruction of justice-related charges.