Criminal Justice

BigLaw partner will argue whether Flynn should be held in contempt and if charges should remain

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Michael Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Photo from

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan of Washington, D.C., has appointed Debevoise & Plimpton partner John Gleeson to make arguments in connection with a possible attempt to hold Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, in criminal contempt of court.

Gleeson will address whether Sullivan should issue an order to show cause why Flynn shouldn’t be held in contempt for perjury, report Law360,, Politico, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Gleeson will also present arguments against the government’s bid to drop the case against Flynn.

Flynn had previously pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russia’s ambassador, but he later sought to withdraw the plea. The government said last Thursday it wanted to drop the case because Flynn’s lies weren’t material to the investigation regarding whether Flynn was an agent of a foreign power.

Flynn was convicted on the basis of statements made in a January 2017 interview. The government said it wasn’t persuaded that the interview “was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue.”

Gleeson was one of three authors of a May 11 Washington Post op-ed that argued that Sullivan has the authority to review the Department of Justice’s stated justification for dropping the case.

Once the government secures an indictment, it is up to a court to decide whether to proceed, the op-ed said. And once there has been a guilty plea, government motions to dismiss “are virtually unheard of,” the op-ed argued.

“Flynn’s guilt has already been adjudicated,” the op-ed said. “So if the court finds dismissal would result in a miscarriage of justice, it can deny the motion, refuse to permit withdrawal of the guilty plea and proceed to sentencing.”

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