US justice department moves to drop Flynn charges

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday moved to dismiss charges against President Trump’s former security adviser Michael Flynn, arguing the charges are moot following Trump’s presidential pardon of Flynn last week.

The motion, filed by the US attorney for the District of Colombia, included a release of Trump’s official pardon document.

It grants Flynn a “full and unconditional pardon … from any and all possible offenses arising from the facts set forth … or that or that might arise, or be charged, claimed or asserted” in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference

Mueller’s team had questioned Flynn about interactions he had with Russia’s US ambassador in late 2016 leading up to Trump’s inauguration.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 of making false statements to US federal investigators. He was the most high-profile Trump official to be targeted by Mueller. He was forced to leave his post as national security adviser just three weeks after taking office. 

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‘Dismiss with prejudice’

Flynn has tried to withdraw the plea, arguing that prosecutors violated his rights and tricked him into a plea agreement. Flynn’s back and forth led to an investigation into perjury.

In May, the DOJ moved to dismiss the case. That attempt was resisted by US District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who appointed a former judge to argue against the federal government and evaluate whether Flynn should be charged with criminal contempt of court. 

However, the DOJ now argues that Trump’s pardon has granted Flynn immunity from any prosecution, and that all legal action against the former general should be ended once and for all.

“The government’s prior motion to dismiss, as well as all other pending motions in this case, are moot in light of the president’s full and unconditional pardon to General Flynn,” the motion said.

“No further proceedings are necessary or appropriate, as the Court must immediately dismiss the case with prejudice,” it continued, adding that Flynn’s counsel and the US government have agreed on the conditions set forth in the filing. 

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