A federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered a federal judge to dismiss charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The three-judge panel voted 2-1 against U.S. District Court Judge Emmet J. Sullivan, who sought to force the Justice Department to defend its decision to drop its case against Flynn.
The Justice Department filed a motion on May 7 seeking to dismiss a false statements charge against Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to the count on Dec. 1, 2017.
Flynn admitted in his plea agreement that he made false statements to the FBI during a White House interview on Jan. 24, 2017 regarding his conversations weeks earlier with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn retracted his admission of guilt on Jan. 29, saying that he did not lie to the FBI and that he struck a plea deal in order to protect his son from criminal charges.
Attorney General William Barr directed Jeffrey Jensen, the U.S. attorney in St. Louis, to review Flynn’s case. Jensen discovered several pieces of evidence that Barr has said are exculpatory for Flynn.
The appellate court’s decision is a major victory for President Donald Trump, who has long decried the prosecution of his former national security adviser.