FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn passes by members of the media as he departs after his sentencing was delayed at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., December 18, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Thursday instructed the judge presiding over the criminal case against President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn to respond to a petition in which Flynn asked the appellate court to toss the charge.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit gave District Judge Emmet Sullivan 10 days to respond to a request for dismissal Flynn made on Tuesday.
The Justice Department on May 7 asked Sullivan to drop the charges, drawing accusations from Democrats and retired career prosecutors that Attorney General William Barr was politicizing the U.S. criminal justice system to go light on Trump’s friends and associates.
Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general who also advised Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s U.S. ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the weeks before Trump took office, but later sought to withdraw his plea and accused the FBI of tricking him.
The Justice Department’s decision to ask Sullivan to drop the charges followed public pressure from Trump and the Republican president’s political allies.
Reporting by Jan Wolfe, Editing by Franklin Paul and Will Dunham