The legal case against Michael Flynn, US President Trump’s former national security advisor, was definitively Wednesday when Trump issued him a full presidential pardon.
Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to falsifying information to the FBI while the FBI was investigating conversations Flynn had with a Russian ambassador as part of the Mueller Investigation. The Department of Justice originally recommended up to six months in prison for Flynn’s actions, but Flynn’s sentencing was postponed repeatedly until 2020.
In May of this year, the FBI announced that it was dropping the case against Flynn, but Judge Emmet Sullivan, presiding over the case, did not accept the FBI’s withdrawal. Instead, he appointed retired judge John Gleeson to argue against the decision.
Gleeson issued a brief to the court in which he called the move to dismiss charges a “corrupt and politically motivated favor.” The Department of Justice argued to drop the charges because the lies Flynn told them were not “material” in the investigation of whether he was an agent of a foreign power. Gleeson’s brief called Flynn’s guilt “obvious” and reiterated that Flynn had pleaded guilty on two prior occasions.
In the statement announcing Flynn’s pardon, the Trump administration claims that Flynn “should never have been prosecuted” and that “[h]e is an innocent man” without ever mentioning his two separate guilty pleas or the evidence presented that he was guilty.
Trump’s pardon comes in the last weeks of his presidency and follows the commutation of former adviser Roger Stone’s sentence in July. The administration denied any wrongdoing by Stone as well despite his guilty verdict on seven felony charges, including obstruction, witness tampering, and making false statements to Congress.