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Judge calls Barr move to dismiss Flynn case ‘gross abuse of prosecutorial power’

Attorney Scott Pilutik wrestles with the news of the day, from a lawyerly perspective…

Maybe you recall Bill Barr’s DOJ doing a 180-degree turn on the Michael Flynn prosecution, to which Flynn had already pleaded guilty, moving to dismiss its case entirely. The judge arched an eyebrow and then appointed a retired federal judge, John Gleeson, to make the argument that had been suddenly usurped by the collaboration between the DOJ and Flynn, namely the argument that the court shouldn’t dismiss the charges.

Judge Gleeson today filed an 82-page excoriation, laying waste to Barr’s corrupt stewardship of the DOJ.

The Department of Justice has a solemn responsibility to prosecute this case — like every other case — without fear or favor and, to quote the Department’s motto, solely ‘on behalf of justice.’ It has abdicated that responsibility through a gross abuse of prosecutorial power, attempting to provide special treatment to a favored friend and political ally of the President of the United States. It has treated the case like no other, and in doing so has undermined the public’s confidence in the rule of law.

Whether the court will grant the DOJ’s request and let Flynn off the hook is largely beside the point by now — the judge may have no realistic choice. The bigger issue needs to be what Barr has done to a government agency whose independence is a cornerstone of our conception of how our government is supposed to work.


In the earliest days of this administration Trump reached out to then head of SDNY Preet Bharara, at which contact Bharara flinched. Trump had no respect for the independence of the DOJ and Bharara was concerned about appearances — he may one day be called on to investigate Trump. A lot has happened at the DOJ since then, and pretty much all of it rancid and corrupt.

Another quote:

The Government’s ostensible grounds for seeking dismissal are conclusively disproven by its own briefs filed earlier in this very proceeding. They contradict and ignore this Court’s prior orders, which constitute law of the case. They are riddled with inexplicable and elementary errors of law and fact. And they depart from positions that the Government has taken in other cases.

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