In notifying Michael Flynn’s judge that the former national security adviser had been pardoned last week by President Trump, the Justice Department went out of its way to make clear that it covered any of his potentially criminal conduct that had been probed in recent years.
The filing also addressed the hints from U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan that Flynn may have committed perjury in how he flip-flopped before the court about whether he was guilty of the crimes he had admitted to. And it sniped at Sullivan’s ongoing review of the Justice Department’s reasons for asking last May that the case be dropped.
“The pardon not only encompasses the Section 1001 charge that is the subject of the government’s pending motion to dismiss ,” the DOJ filing said, “but also any possible future perjury or contempt charge in connection with General Flynn’s sworn statements and any other possible future charge that this Court or the court-appointed amicus has suggested might somehow keep this criminal case alive over the government’s objection.”
Trump announced his pardon of Flynn last Wednesday, circumventing a Sullivan’s ongoing resistance to granting intensive Justice Department’s dismissal request. Because of the pardon, that dismissal request was now “moot,” the Justice Department said Monday.
The Monday filing with the judge also included the formal pardon papers from Trump.
Those papers said that the President was not only pardoning Flynn for the false statements he made to the FBI about his late 2016 contacts with Russian officials. The pardon also covers the unregistered lobbying for Turkey that Flynn admitted to as part of his plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, as well as “all possible offenses arising out of facts and circumstances” probed by grand juries in D.C. and Eastern Virginia.
While Flynn technically only pleaded guilty to the false statements, the fact that Mueller had secured his admissions on the Turkey lobbying conduct set up the potential that Flynn could find himself in severe legal jeopardy if his cooperation deal with Mueller went awry. When Flynn was initially set to be sentenced in December 2018, Mueller did not seek any prison time as he pointed to the “substantial” cooperation he had given investigators.
But his deal with prosecutors did eventually unravel, after Flynn sought a delay in his sentencing (Sullivan had hinted at the hearing he was still considering prison time) and months later, replaced his legal team with a lawyer known for her hostility towards the Mueller probe.
That lawyer, Sidney Powell, was most recently assisting in Trump’s flailing crusade to overturn the results of the election.
Read the DOJ filings and the pardon papers below: