WASHINGTON, D.C. – A federal judge formally dismissed the criminal case against Michael Flynn on Tuesday, two weeks after President Donald Trump pardoned his former national security adviser.
In a 43-page opinion, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, portrayed the Justice Department’s previous arguments for dismissing the case as “dubious to say the least,” The New York Times reported.
Trump had announced on Nov. 25 via Twitter that he had pardoned Flynn. The former general was part of the White House staff for only 22 days, resigning after being caught in a lie about his Russian contacts.
Sullivan wrote that he probably would have denied the Justice Department’s effort this year to drop the case, The Washington Post reported.
Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador during special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of 2016 election interference, the newspaper reported.
“(A) pardon does not necessarily render ‘innocent’ a defendant of any alleged violation of the law,” Sullivan wrote. “Indeed, the Supreme Court has recognized that the acceptance of a pardon implies a ‘confession’ of guilt.”
Trump tweeted his thanks to Sullivan after Tuesday’s ruling, writing: “Thank you and congratulations to General Flynn. He and his incredible family have suffered greatly!”
Despite initially distancing himself from Flynn, Trump later embraced the case as an example of the Mueller investigation’s “deep state” conspiracy against him, the Times reported.
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