BuzzFeed reporter Jason Leopold tweeted on Friday that per Judge Reggie Walton, Judge Emmet Sullivan could rule that Donald Trump’s pardon of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was “too broad in its language.” As reported by Raw Story, Walton’s comments were outlined in a piece by The National Law Journal.
“I don’t know what impact that would have, what decision he would make, if he makes that determination that the pardon of Mr. Flynn is for a period that the law does not permit. I don’t know if that’s correct or not,” he said.
“Theoretically, the decision could be reached because the wording in the pardon seems to be very, very broad. It could be construed, I think, as extending protections against criminal prosecutions after the date the pardon was issued.”
Walton ultimately said he was unsure whether Sullivan would come to the same conclusion.
Flynn is the first person who has received a pardon since the 2020 election was called for Democrat Joe Biden. The intelligence official was charged for lying to the FBI about his conversations with former Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak amid Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He admitted guilt and later recanted after the Department of Justice defended him and argued that he should never have been questioned by the FBI in the first place.
Most recently, Flynn made headlines when he encouraged Trump to invoke martial law and hold a new election overseen by the military. He suggested the course of action be taken if the courts and Congress do not follow the U.S. Constitution. Flynn’s suggestion was supported by Georgia lawyer Lin Wood, who has helped Trump and his legal team embark on legal challenges against the 2020 electoral results.
As Trump is set to leave the White House in January, speculation continues to swirl around the pardons he will issue in the lame-duck period of his presidency. As reported by BBC, the Justice Department recently revealed that it is investigating claims that lobbyists have attempted to bribe the White House for presidential pardons. Although no names were mentioned in unsealed court documents on the probe, the DOJ claims that no government official is being investigated. According to Trump, reports of the alleged inquiry are “fake news.”
The Pew Research Center noted that Trump had granted just 28 pardons and 16 commutations as of late November. In comparison, his predecessor, Barack Obama, issued 212 pardons and 1,715 commutations.