Tonight Turley expressed his disquiet with Sullivan's moves in the Flynn case, in which Sullivan has exhibited a Captain Ahab like fixation on "getting" Flynn. Professor Turley:
Judge Sullivan has now appointed a retired judge to look into “whether the Court should issue an Order to Show Cause why Mr. Flynn should not be held in criminal contempt for perjury.” Thus, the court is not only considering denying an uncontested motion for dismissal but [is also] considering a new charge based on Flynn's effort to withdraw his plea.
Consider the implications for many cases where defendants seek to withdraw pleas due to prosecutorial abuse. It would create a threat of a judicial charge even when prosecutors agree with defendants.
Judge Sullivan was previously criticized for suggesting that Flynn could be charged with treason. He is now allowing third parties to make arguments in a criminal case on an unopposed motion. In addition, he is exploring a charge that he might be able to bring against Flynn.
These extraordinary moves by the court are increasingly discomforting. This is a single charge where significant jail time was neither warranted nor expected. The Court's effort to import arguments and explore new charges could be raised on appeal given the prior record.
[T]here comes a point where the Court appears too invested in the punishment of a defendant and too active in creating alternatives to dismissal. As a criminal defense attorney, I find these moves unnerving, particularly when prosecutorial abuse has been raised by DOJ and others.