By Robert Willmann
Oral argument is set for this Friday, 12 June, at 9:30 a.m. on the petition for a writ of mandamus filed by Gen. Michael Flynn in the federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The action filed in the appellate court on 19 May 2020 was a new proceeding which asked that an order be issued directing the trial court Judge Emmet Sullivan to grant the request filed by the government to dismiss the criminal case against Flynn–
The public attention that has developed about the prosecution of Flynn, and the issues of what discretion a trial court judge has to deny a motion by the government to dismiss a case it brought, and whether a judge can seek to initiate a criminal contempt of court proceeding against a defendant who seeks to withdraw a plea of guilty, have combined to attract written arguments from lawyers not directly involved in the case as "friends of the court" (amicus curiae). The court of appeals has agreed to allow 11 of those briefs to be filed; seven of them support Flynn's position and four support what Judge Sullivan has done.
Responses to the petition were filed for Judge Sullivan and for the federal government on 1 June 2020.
Any reply by Flynn and any further response by Sullivan or the Department of Justice for the government are to be made by 5:00 p.m. today.
The clerk's office for the court of appeals said that the oral argument may be done remotely by video conferencing, telephone hookup, or a similar arrangement, because of the situation with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The arguments are often streamed live on the Internet, but because the hearing might be done remotely, it may not be available live. However, an audio recording is done of the argument and it may be available at some point Friday afternoon.