Former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s attorney argued before the D.C. Court of Appeals Friday that the judge overseeing the case does not have the authority to operate as a prosecutor, as he is attempting to subvert the authority of the Department of Justice and the prosecutors in Flynn’s case, who have petitioned that charges be dropped against her client.
Further, questions have surfaced about Judge Emmet G. Sullivan’s appointment of ex-Judge John Gleeson. Gleeson worked closely with top prosecutor Andrew Weissmann from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, that investigated the Trump campaign. According to sources Gleeson and Weissmann worked closely for years during their time with the Eastern District of New York. Gleeson’s close connection to Weissmann calls into question whether or not there are political motivations behind his decision to speak out against the DOJ’s decision to drop charges.
“I’m going to say to you that John Gleeson is one of the last people whoever should have been put in this position,” David Schoen, Civil Rights and Defense Attorney
Sidney Powell told the three judge panel on Friday that “there is nothing further for the court to do…It’s a travesty of justice that this man has been dragged through” a three-year court ordeal. She warned the judges that the case against Flynn was “absolutely concocted” by former senior Obama officials with the FBI and DOJ and that the evidence was overwhelming.
Powell also added that “it’s clear from the amicus right now, they want to take General Flynn to sentence as soon as possible and impose the maximum sentence and to make us go through the process when the ultimate result has to be the grant of the motion to dismiss. The government’s just wasting resources out the wazoo pursuing this and the toll it’s taking on the defendant is certainly irreparable harm.”
Powell is referring to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan’s decision to fight the Justice Department’s decision to drop charges against Flynn. She noted that if he didn’t deny the motion by the Justice Department to dismiss the case on this record “we would be entitled to mandamus right now. To drag this out another six months, it won’t be just a hearing on July 16th, it will go beyond that.”
Evidence suggesting that there was gross malfeasance against Flynn has mounted since Powell has taken over the case. Moreover, documents, including FBI emails and handwritten notes, which were never made available to the defense reveal serious concerns that Flynn allegedly was set up. Those documents were discovered by DOJ appointed U.S. Attorney Jefferey Jensen, who is overseeing an investigation into Flynn’s prosecution, paint a much different picture than the one established by former Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel regarding Flynn.
In fact, we’ve seen evidence of this in the handwritten notes Jensen uncovered of former assistant Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap. For example, notes he wrote directly after a meeting with former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former FBI Director James Comey, question why the FBI agents originally interviewed Flynn in January, 2017. “What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired,” said Priestap.
That same month, on January 4, the FBI had written a memo suggesting that the investigation against Flynn should be dropped because they found “no derogatory information.” In fact, this is something the Special Counsel prosecutors may have been aware of when they brought charges against Flynn and worked to coerce a guilty plea from him by saying they were going to charge his son if he didn’t comply.
On Friday, however, Judges Karen Henderson, along with Robert Wilkins of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit seemed to questioned Powell’s argument for Flynn. Asking why Sullivan shouldn’t be allowed to conduct an independent evaluation, or appoint an amicus in the case, to argue against the DOJ’s May 7 motion to dismiss charges. She noted “the damage” against Flynn “continues to accrue by the day.”
However, there appears to be an issue with Sullivan’s amicus appointment.
Sullivan appointed several amici curiae, which included Gleeson, whose relationship to former Mueller Special Counsel lead prosecutor Andrew Weissmann has raised serious questions of conflict of interest with other legal scholars and lawyers closely watching this case.
Weissmann’s team targeted Flynn, despite allegations that they knew the FBI had found no derogatory information against the three-star general early in January, 2017, prior to his interview with the bureau’s special agents at the White House.
Gleeson, who wrote an opinion editorial in The Washington Post against Flynn, said in a filing this week that Flynn should be sentenced under the crime to which he originally plead guilty. He said that since Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during a 2017 interview and that the court should also factor into its sentencing Flynn’s withdrawal of that guilty plea. Basically, Gleeson claimed in his filing that it constituted perjury.
“It really is truly unbelievable,” said David Schoen, a civil rights and defense attorney.
Schoen, who is now representing Roger Stone, said “I’m going to say to you that John Gleeson is one of the last people whoever should have been put in this position. If we’re concerned about the integrity of the system, John Gleeson goes back side by side colleagues for many years, with none other than Andrew Weissmann.”
He said that Gleeson couldn’t remain an outside impartial observer in this case because of his direct and close connections with Weissmann, that stem decades from their time working in the Eastern District of New York.
Schoen noted that Weissmann and Gleeson “worked together in the Eastern District of New York, prosecuting case after case, especially in a series of cases against what the government calls so called Colombo crime family, in that case, with John Gleeson and Andrew Weissmann as the supervising prosecutors in the case, lead prosecutors in the case at trial and otherwise they knew that their chief FBI agent, guy named Lin Vecchio, had a corrupt relationship with the under boss of the Colombo family guy named Gregory Scarpa. Stone Cold killer, multiple multiple murders. They were the supervising prosecutors in this case.”
It is not only the Justice Department fighting on behalf of dropping charges against Flynn but many others as well, including an amicus curie filed by GOP Attorney Generals and Senators. Further, Justice Department Solicitor General Noel Francisco joined Flynn in arguing that Sullivan has no power to second-guess the government’s prosecution decisions. Fransisco said it would be unconstitutional for Sullivan to refuse to dismiss the charges against Flynn when there is no disagreement between the defendant and the prosecution.
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U.S. House Votes to Permanently Freeze $6 Billion Iranian Funds Amid Hostage Exchange Controversy
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation to permanently freeze $6 billion in Iranian funds that were initially slated for release by the Biden administration as part of a hostage exchange with Tehran earlier this year. The measure passed in a 307-119 vote, with the majority of Republicans supporting it, according to The Hill. Notably, Kentucky GOP Rep. Thomas Massie was the sole Republican dissenting voice, aligning with 118 Democrats.
The frozen funds, originally held in South Korea, were part of a deal where Seoul committed to paying Iran for oil before the U.S. imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic in 2019. Subsequently, these funds were transferred to Qatar as part of the exchange. However, in the aftermath of an Oct. 7 Hamas raid on Israel, where more than 200 hostages were seized and around 1,200 civilians were killed, both Qatar and the U.S. agreed to refreeze the funds.
The decision to permanently freeze the funds reflects the growing controversy surrounding the hostage exchange and the broader implications of releasing substantial financial resources to Iran. Tehran’s support for Hamas and its proxies’ heightened hostilities in the Middle East have contributed to the contentious nature of this issue.
As the legislation progresses, it further underscores the complex dynamics in the region and the United States’ response to Iran’s involvement in activities that destabilize the Middle East. The vote outcome signals a bipartisan stance on this matter, with implications for U.S.-Iran relations and the ongoing challenges of navigating geopolitical complexities.
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