A federal trial judge suggested on Friday that the federal judge overseeing former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s case could find that President Donald Trump’s pardon of Flynn is too broad, according to the National Law Journal.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said at a hearing Friday that he doesn’t think U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, his colleague presiding over the Flynn case, “has a lot of options in reference to what he does” after the pardon was granted, “unless he takes the position that the wording of the pardon is too broad, in that it provides protections beyond the date of the pardon.”
“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,” the judge continued. “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’s comments came “in a public records case over FBI interviews from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller III’s investigation.”
CNN and BuzzFeed News, represented by Ballard Spahr’s Charles Tobin at Friday’s hearing, want the records from Flynn’s FBI interviews to be reprocessed in light of the pardon, revealing information that was initially shielded due to an exemption tied to ongoing prosecutions.
The report noted that Trump’s pardon, granted last week, protects Flynn “‘any and all possible offenses’ tied to the criminal information against Flynn, as well as Mueller’s investigation.”
It also “states that it protects Flynn from any charges that ‘might arise, or be charged, claimed, or asserted’ from his criminal case.”
The publication also noted that “Presidential pardon powers are effectively unlimited, with no mechanism for oversight for acts of clemency within federal courts or Congress.”
Image credit: Screengrab / CBS Evening News / YouTube