The law firm of the retired judge who will argue against dismissing the case of Michael Flynn is a hotbed of Democratic Party financial supporters, Federal Election Commission disclosures show.
Employees at ex-judge John Gleeson’s New York firm, Debevoise & Plimpton, have contributed $240,000 in the 2019-20 election cycle, almost all to Democrats or left-leaning causes, the filings show.
The largest sums among 9,700 individual contributions went to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and former candidate Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey. Mr. Gleeson, who was appointed to the U.S. District Court in 1994 by Bill Clinton, has not made any individual contributions.
The Justice Department has filed a motion to dismiss the criminal case against Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general and briefly President Trump’s national security adviser. Flynn has recanted his December 2017 guilty plea for lying to FBI agents. His lawyer, Sidney Powell, argues he was entrapped; a Justice review ordered by Attorney General William Barr agreed.
But U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan is balking. He took the unusual step on May 13 of appointing Mr. Gleeson to enter the case as an advocate (amicus curiae) against the motion to dismiss. Judge Sullivan also ordered him to argue why Flynn should not be held in contempt of court. The judge did not say what he believes is Flynn’s offense.
Judges can allow defendants to retract guilty pleas if it determined they did so because of prosecutorial misconduct. In the landmark Richard Nixon Watergate case, the Supreme Court ruled in 1974 that the executive branch has the sole discretion over prosecuting a case.
It said, “The Executive Branch has exclusive authority and absolute discretion to decide whether to prosecute a case.”
Like Mr. Gleeson, Judge Sullivan was also appointed to the bench by President Clinton. At an abbreviated sentencing hearing in 2018, Judge Sullivan said of Flynn, who headed the Defense Intelligence Agency and deployed to combat zones, “arguably you sold your country out.”
Observers have defined the court battle as pitting Democratic-appointees Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Gleeson against the Republican Trump Justice Department.
According to FEC records, the Gleeson firm’s employees give often to Democrats. There have been 27 individual donations to Joe Biden totally $24,850 and 15 to Sen. Booker for $24,500.
The firm’s employees also made over 1,100 individual contributions to Democrats or causes through Actblue, a software platform that collects earmarked small donations for liberals.
There is one prominent Republican counsel: Michael Mukasey, former U.S. attorney general.
Debevoise & Plimpton, with 800 lawyers and offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia, is primarily a corporate law practice with over $1 billion in annual revenue, according to legal web sites.
In 2019, the Moscow office advised the Chinese Alibaba Group in a joint venture with the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a multi-billion-dollar pool overseen by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Debevoise’s team in Russia has a particularly strong knowledge of energy and natural resources, including minding, power utilities, oil and gas,” the firm’s website says
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