CHUCK ROSS
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER

A federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered a federal judge to immediately dismiss charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The three-judge panel voted 2-1 against U.S. District Court Judge Emmet J. Sullivan, who sought to force the Justice Department to defend its decision to drop its case against Flynn.

Judge Neomi Rao, a Trump appointee who wrote the opinion, said the case was “about whether, after the government has explained why a prosecution is no longer in the public interest, the district judge may prolong the prosecution by appointing an amicus, encouraging public participation, and probing the government’s motives.”

The Justice Department filed a motion on May 7 seeking to dismiss a false statements charge against Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to the count on Dec. 1, 2017.

Prosecutors cited “newly discovered” FBI documents that they said undermined the case against Flynn.

Attorney General William Barr had directed Jeffrey Jensen, the U.S. attorney in St. Louis, to review Flynn’s case. Jensen discovered several pieces of evidence that prosecutors said undermined the case against Flynn.

Flynn admitted in his plea agreement that he made false statements to the FBI during a White House interview on Jan. 24, 2017 regarding his conversations weeks earlier with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. (RELATED: Michael Flynn: ‘I Regret Pleading Guilty’)

Flynn retracted his admission of guilt on Jan. 29, saying that he did not lie to the FBI and that he struck a plea deal in order to protect his son from criminal charges.

Sullivan sought to delay dismissal of the case by inviting a former federal judge and others to provide analysis of the Justice Department’s unusual request.

The appellate court’s decision is a major victory for President Donald Trump, who has long decried the prosecution of his former national security adviser.

– CHUCK ROSS

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