In a post called “What’s next in the Flynn case,” I wrote:
[I]t would be extraordinary for Judge Sullivan to deny the government’s motion to dismiss its case against Gen. Flynn. But then, this is not your average case and Sullivan has shown he’s not your average judge.
True to his reputation, Judge Sullivan isn’t letting go of the matter. Today, he put on hold the Justice Department’s move to drop charges against Michael Flynn, saying he expects independent groups and legal experts to argue against the motion.
The expectation is reasonable, but Sullivan’s reaction to it is questionable. As the DOJ said in its motion:
[D]ecisions to dismiss pending charges “lie squarely within the ken of prosecutorial discretion” and “at the core of the Executive’s duty to see to the faithful execution of the laws.”
“Independent groups” and “legal experts” have no proper role in the process.
Nonetheless, Sullivan said he will, “at the appropriate time,” set a schedule for outside parties to argue against the Justice Department’s claims. He wants to circus to continue. Send in the clowns.
What Sullivan will do once the clowns enter remains to be seen. The Washington Post speculates:
Sullivan’s invitation could set the stage for adversarial proceedings in which one or more attorneys argue against the Justice Department. It would also permit, if the judge chooses, to require sides to produce evidence and revisit the case for and against Flynn.
In an evidentiary hearing, Sullivan could call witnesses, such as Flynn, his investigators or even prosecutors, to obtain more facts about how the case was handled and why Flynn and agents took the steps they did.
All of this might make for great theater. Imagine Sidney Powell cross-examining James Comey and Peter Strzok, for example.
However, the better move would be to bring down the curtain as soon as possible. Sullivan should have brought it down by granting the government’s motion without further ado.