Would you be surprised to learn that Robert Mueller may not have followed the rules of the Federal Court?
That’s not yet determined, but a Federal Judge is concerned enough that he just issued an order.
In short, legal ethics rules demand that the Prosecution turn over “exculpatory evidence” they come across during their investigation to the Defense.
It appears the Judge in the case against Flynn is concerned this didn’t happen, because he just made a very unusual ruling before moving into sentencing.
This is leading many legal scholars to presume that the Judge might be considering throwing the case out or putting some other serious dent in Mueller’s case.
Not only that, but the Judge made the ruling “sua sponte” which means he raised the issue himself! It wasn’t even in response to the Defense’s motion.
The implication is that this is something VERY important to the Judge.
In other words, he may smell a rat.
Take a look at this:
Here're more breakdown, from ZeroHedge:
The federal judge assigned to the criminal case against Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has ordered Special Counsel Robert Mueller to turn over any "exculpatory evidence" to Flynn's defense team.
Oddly, however, Flynn's legal team did not make this request. Instead, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan issued the order "sua sponte," or at his discretion, invoking the "Brady Rule" - which requires prosecutors to turn over previously unfiled evidence that might have a material impact on a defendant's case. Interestingly, two days before the order Mueller filed a motion for an agreed-upon protective order regarding the use of evidence in the case, including "sensitive materials," provided to Flynn's lawyers by the office of the Special Counsel.
The development has generated a significant buzz in conservative circles, with the implication being that perhaps Flynn might not have pleaded guilty in light of certain evidence.
Judge Andrew Napolitano addressed Sullivan's decision on Tuesday, saying The judge on his own, not in response to any application from General Flynns lawyers says, "By the way, I want all exculpatory evidence, evidence that could help Flynn or hurt the government turned over to Flynns lawyers."
Why would he we want that after General Flynn has already pleaded guilty? That is unheard of. He must suspect a defect in the guilty plea. Meaning, he must have reason to believe that General Flynn pleaded guilty for some reason other than guilt.
Adding to the odd turn of events in the Flynn matter is a February 1 report that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has postponed Flynn's sentencing due to the "status" of the investigation.
Some have speculated that Mueller's request indicates Flynn is cooperating with his investigation. Others, such as former federal prosecutor Joe diGenova, think that "It may very well be that the guilty plea cannot stand" after D.C. Judge Rudolph Contreras - who also sits on the FISA court and may have personally signed off on surveillance warrant(s) which ultimately included Flynn- recused himself days after he was assigned Flynn's case.Judge Rudolph Contreras, appointed by President Obama in 2012
Others have speculated that the FBI conducted an illegal interview of Flynn by not announcing that he was actually under investigation, and did not have an attorney present.
And in a leaked account of former FBI Director James Comey's March 2017 closed door briefing to Congressional investigators, Comey told lawmakers that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe he had lied to them, and as a result, "some of those in attendance came away with the impression that Flynn would not be charged with a crime."
The Hill picked up on another angle to this story, noting that this wasn't the first time this particular judge has encountered this issue (meaning he may be particularly sensitive to it and determined to get it right!):
The federal judge overseeing the criminal case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has ordered special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to turn over any “exculpatory evidence” to his defense team.
The development generated immediate attention in conservative circles, with some seizing on the order as a potential indication that Flynn’s guilty plea had been called into question.
Judge Emmet G. Sullivan filed the order on Friday, directing federal prosecutors to produce to Flynn’s legal team “any evidence in its possession that is favorable to defendant and material either to defendant’s guilt or punishment” in a timely manner.
Sullivan’s order invoked the “Brady Rule,” which requires prosecutors to disclose exculpatory evidence in their possession to the defense — that is, evidence that could prove favorable to the defendant in negating his guilt, reducing his potential sentence or bolstering the credibility of a witness.
Judge Andrew Napolitano, a frequent presence on Fox News who has been hailed by President Trump, was among the voices keenly interested in Sullivan’s decision.
“The judge on his own, not in response to any application from General Flynn’s lawyers says, ‘By the way, I want all exculpatory evidence, evidence that could help Flynn or hurt the government turned over to Flynn’s lawyers,'” Napolitano said on Fox News Tuesday.
“Why would he we want that after General Flynn has already pleaded guilty? That is unheard of. He must suspect a defect in the guilty plea. Meaning, he must have reason to believe that General Flynn pleaded guilty for some reason other than guilt.”
Other legal experts cautioned that it would be premature to make such a conclusion based on the court order alone.
They pointed to Sullivan’s past work overseeing the trial of former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), in which the judge faulted prosecutors for misconduct in failing to turn over exculpatory evidence.
Still, experts acknowledged that such an order would typically be seen as unusual, especially in cases in which the defendant has already pleaded guilty.
“It’s not unexpected coming from him,” said Jack Sharman, a lawyer at Lightfoot, Franklin & White and former Whitewater special counsel. “I think it would probably be an over-read to make a conclusion about the defect in the plea just based on this order.”
Sullivan issued the order “sua sponte”—or at his own volition, unprovoked by Flynn’s defense team. He filed a nearly identical order in mid-December, after taking over the case.
There are no details in the filing that are specific to the case.
“It’s just a way to have in the record a judge’s reminder to the prosecutors about their Brady obligations,” said Randall Eliason, a George Washington University law professor and former U.S. attorney. “It’s just a generic, boilerplate [order] you could file in any case.”
Mueller two days prior had filed a motion for an agreed-upon protective order governing the use of material, including “sensitive materials,” in the case provided from the special counsel’s office to Flynn’s lawyers.