By Brooke Singman | Fox News
A federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered a lower court to allow the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to be dismissed, as requested by the Justice Department — likely ending the years-long legal saga stemming from the Russia investigation.
The abrupt ending came in a 2-1 ruling and order from judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
DOJ DROPS CASE AGAINST MICHAEL FLYNN
This was the result of an appeal from Flynn’s lawyers asking for a so-called writ of mandamus — essentially an order telling a government official to carry out a certain duty — directing Judge Emmet Sullivan to approve the DOJ’s motion to dismiss.
Sullivan did not immediately grant that motion and instead sought to hold hearings on the matter, angering Flynn allies.
The unusual move from Sullivan to keep the case alive despite prosecutors’ wishes was preceded by an unusual move from the DOJ itself to drop the charges against Flynn even after he had pleaded guilty — saying the FBI interview that led to his charge of lying to investigators had no “legitimate investigative basis.”
JUDGES APPEAR SKEPTICAL OF DOJ MOVE TO DISMISS CASE, AS HIS LAWYER ALLEGES ‘GOVERNMENT MISCONDUT’
It’s unclear whether anyone could try to appeal to the full appeals court or even to the Supreme Court in order to keep the case alive. The next step presumably would be for Sullivan to comply with the order.
Wednesday’s court order was direct, ordering “that Flynn’s petition for a writ of mandamus be granted in part; the District Court is directed to grant the government’s … motion to dismiss; and the District Court’s order appointing an amicus is hereby vacated as moot, in accordance with the opinion of the court filed herein this date.”
The accompanying decision essentially backed federal prosecutors in their move to drop the case.
FLYNN-KISLYAK CALL TRANSCRIPTS RELEASED, REVEALING FATEFUL TALKS OVER RUSSIA SANCTIONS
”In this case, the district court’s actions will result in specific harms to the exercise of the Executive Branch’s exclusive prosecutorial power. The contemplated proceedings would likely require the Executive to reveal the internal deliberative process behind its exercise of prosecutorial discretion, interfering with the Article II charging authority,” Judge Neomi Rao, a Trump appointee, wrote in the decision.
Judge Robert Wilkins, dissenting, wrote: “It is a great irony that, in finding the District Court to have exceeded its jurisdiction, this Court so grievously oversteps its own. This appears to be the first time that we have issued a writ of mandamus to compel a district court to rule in a particular manner on a motion without first giving the lower court a reasonable opportunity to issue its own ruling.”
Fox News’ Tyler Olson, Bill Mears and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.