Federal Judge Dismisses Case Against Michael Flynn After Trump Clemency

Washington – A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed the criminal case against former national security adviser to President Donald Trump Michael Flynn, but noted that the presidential pardon he received last month does not mean he is innocent.

Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order was expected following Trump’s clemency that overturned the ruling against Flynn for lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation. Sullivan acknowledged in his 43-page ruling that the presidential pardon required the annulment of the case and that the decision to grant him clemency was political and not legal.

But he also stressed that a pardon by itself does not mean that Flynn is innocent of a crime that he has twice pleaded guilty to. He said the reasons stated by the Justice Department for dropping the case – an application that was pending at the time the pardon was issued – were “dubious, to say the least” and pointed to the president’s personal interest in the case.

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“The history of the Constitution, its structure, and the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the power of clemency make it clear that President Trump’s decision to pardon Mr. Flynn is a political decision, not a legal one,” he wrote. “As the law recognizes the president’s political power to forgive, the proper course is to dismiss the case as irrelevant.”

However, he added, “a pardon does not necessarily render a defendant ‘innocent’ of any alleged violation of the law. In fact, the Supreme Court has recognized that the acceptance of a pardon implies a ‘confession’ of guilt ”.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said “dismissal is, of course, the correct outcome.” Trump himself congratulated Flynn in a tweet: “He and his incredible family have suffered greatly.”

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