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Retired judge called in to determine whether Flynn should be held in contempt

Barr defends dropping Michael Flynn case
Barr defends dropping Michael Flynn case 13:23

A former federal judge has been tapped to argue whether or not Michael Flynn should be subject to a contempt hearing after claiming to be innocent of a crime for which he had previously pleaded guilty. Additionally, the judge has been tasked with arguing against the Justice Department's move to drop the criminal case against Flynn. 

The appointment of Retired Judge John Gleeson was announced by Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is currently weighing the fate of Flynn's case after the DOJ announced last week it would move to dismiss the charges it had brought against President Trump's former national security adviser.

"ORDERED that the Court exercises its inherent authority to appoint The Honorable John Gleeson (Ret.) as amicus curiae to present arguments in opposition to the government's Motion to Dismiss," Sullivan wrote in his order, adding that Gleeson "shall address whether the Court should issue an Order to Show Cause why Mr. Flynn should not be held in criminal contempt for perjury."

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department declined to comment on Gleeson's appointment. 

Gleeson, who formerly sat on the District Court in the Eastern District of New York, has been tasked with reviewing Flynn's criminal case and determining whether or not Flynn should be held "in criminal contempt for perjury," after pleading guilty under oath in court to lying to the FBI when he was initially charged back in 2017.

On Monday, Gleeson co-wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post criticizing the Justice Department's decision. "The purported reasons for the dismissal clash not only with the department's previous arguments in Flynn's case — where it assured the court of an important federal interest in punishing Flynn's dishonesty, an interest it now dismisses as insubstantial — but also with arguments it has routinely made for years in similar cases not involving defendants close to the president," the op-ed said.

Sullivan's announcement comes a day after he indicated he would entertain third party briefs on the matter before ruling on the government's request to throw out the case.

In an exclusive interview last week with CBS News' Catherine Herridge, Attorney General William Barr justified the department's decision, claiming, "[The FBI] did not have a basis for a counterintelligence investigation against Flynn at that stage, based on a perfectly legitimate and appropriate call he made as a member of the transition." 

In 2017, Flynn was fired from the Trump administration just days into the job after lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with the Russian envoy to the U.S. during the transition period before the inauguration. Later that year, Flynn pleaded guilty after he was charged in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. 

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