Flynn lawyers ask judge to quit the case over bias
Lawyers for General Michael Flynn have asked the presiding judge in the case, Emmet Sullivan, to leave the case because of overt bias the judge has displayed against their client.
Sidney Powell, Flynn’s attorney, was arguing in court again for the judge to promptly dismiss the charges as requested by federal prosecutors. In an unusual move, Sullivan has refused to dismiss the charges.
Sullivan questioned Powell about any conversations that she had with the White House, which Powell declined to answer, saying only that she updated the president on the status of the case and asked the president not to issue a pardon to Flynn.
“Powell later during the hearing asked Sullivan to recuse himself from the case, on the grounds of purported bias against Flynn, which included the judge appealing a higher court’s order that Flynn’s case be promptly dismissed,” says CNBC.
But even before Sullivan’s appeal over the request to dismiss the charges, court observers have been critical of the judge.
During a sentencing hearing, Sullivan improperly blasted Flynn for “treasonous” activity due to his guilty plea for lying to the FBI, which Flynn later withdrew after evidence of prosecutorial misconduct surfaced.
“Even the prosecution was flabbergasted,” says the New York Post. “For treason is one of the brightest lines in American law. By placing the definition of treason right in the Constitution, the Founders specifically blocked judges or Congress from tinkering with the meaning.”
Later Sullivan was forced to apologize for his outrageous conduct in court.
“I felt terrible about that,” Sullivan said after a recess.
“I’m not suggesting he committed treason,” Sullivan added, “there are a lot of conspiracy theorists out there.”
Lawyer Alan Dershowitz has claimed that Sullivan’s prejudicial comments could make the case reversible by an appeals court even if Flynn was eventually found guilty.
Constitutional legal scholar, Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law School, while expressing admiration for Judge Sullivan, said the judge’s decisions reveal some “enmity” that could amount to a reversible error by the judge.
“I have repeatedly praised [Sullivan] and expressed my respect for his demeanor and directness,” said Turley. “However, these orders raised deeply troubling questions of judicial overreach and enmity. Despite my admiration for Judge Sullivan, I believe he is moving well outside of the navigational beacons for judicial action and could be committing reversible errors if he denies the unopposed motion or moves forward on this perjury claim.”
The Department of Justice is seeking a dismissal of the Flynn case, which thus far Sullivan has refused. An appeals court ordered the judge to dismiss the case but was later overruled by an en banc decision of the entire court.
PHOTO: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images
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