According to a report from the New York Times, a letter sent in secret to Attorney General Bill Barr asking him to intercede in the case of former Donald Trump aide Michael Flynn, set in motion a move by the Justice Department to force a judge to set aside Flynn's guilty pleas.
The report notes that Flynn attorney Sidney Powell, who used her appearances on Fox News to get Donald Trump's attention, sent off a letter over a year ago asking for Barr to appoint an outsider to look at the case that was already in the sentencing stage.
The Times reports, "Asking for 'utmost confidentiality,' Ms. Powell told Mr. Barr that the case against Mr. Flynn, the president’s former national security adviser who had pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I., smacked of 'corruption of our beloved government institutions for what appears to be political purposes.'"
As the report notes, Barr took up the case that has led to the Justice Department pressuring Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to set aside the pleas and let Flynn walk.
"The private correspondence between Ms. Powell and Mr. Barr, disclosed in a little-noticed court filing last fall, was the first step toward a once-obscure lawyer and a powerful attorney general finding common cause in a battle to dismantle the legacy of the investigations into President Trump and his allies," the report states, adding that Barr's interference has roiled the Justice Department and has now led to a showdown between Sullivan and a Trump-appointed Judge Neomi Rao who wrote last week that Sullivan needs to drop his challenge to the department's decision.
Adding, "Judge Sullivan suspended his review but has not dismissed the charge, suggesting that the extraordinary legal and political saga is not yet over," the report goes on to point out that critics of Barr's decision are still stunned by his interference in a case that had already been completed for the most part.
"It’s hard to think of anything remotely like this,” explained former federal prosecutor David Alan Sklansky. “The Justice Department has taken somebody who has twice pleaded guilty, in a case where the trial judge has considered and already rejected claims of government wrongdoing, and prosecutors now say we’d like to dismiss the case and don’t think it should have been brought in the first place.”
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