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Flynn Judge Preparing His Own Defense for U.S. Appeals Court

  • Court wants answers after judge balked at U.S. plea reversal
  • Lawyer for Judge Emmet Sullivan to file argument by Monday
Michael Flynn, former U.S. national security adviser, center, exits at federal court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on ,Dec. 18, 2018. 

Michael Flynn, former U.S. national security adviser, center, exits at federal court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on ,Dec. 18, 2018. 

Photographer: Aaron P. Bernstein/Bloomberg

The federal judge presiding over Michael Flynn’s criminal case has landed in the rarest of positions for a presumed neutral party, ordered to defend himself by Monday from accusations that he overstepped.

Of course, U.S. judges, who enjoy lifetime tenure, are frequently overruled by higher courts. But legal minds are hard-pressed to recall another U.S. judge in a predicament quite like the one that U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington finds himself in.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington suggested on May 21 that Sullivan had trespassed into an area reserved for prosecutors when he decided to review rather than simply accept the Justice Department’s surprise request to withdraw Flynn’s criminal charge and guilty plea.