D.C. federal Judge Emmett Sullivan has hired Beth Wilkinson, a high-powered attorney from the D.C. establishment, to represent him in the Court of Appeals case seeking a writ of mandamus filed by Sidney Powell, the attorney for former Trump National Security Advisor Lt. Gen Michael Flynn (Army Ret.). Powell is seeking to have the appeals court block Sullivan’s efforts to prolong the Flynn case in the face of a motion by the Justice Department to dismiss the with prejudice and to have Sullivan removed form the case. In a stunning move, Sullivan had previously announced the appointment of former federal judge John Gleeson to act as an amicus opposed to the DOJ’s dismissal of the Flynn case–in a sense appointing his own prosecutor to continue the case.
Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and was awaiting sentencing but has since changed attorneys and moved to withdraw his plea with the new hire Powell exposing government efforts to set-up and entrap Flynn, cover-up evidence exonerating Flynn and threaten Flynn’s son with malicious prosecution. The DOJ recently moved to dismiss the case with prejudice after the revelations of massive misconduct were exposed.
Sullivan is at least the second federal judge Wilkinson has represented. Last year Wilkinson defended Judge Brett Kavanaugh in his Senate confirmation hearings for his Supreme Court nomination where he was falsely accused by Christine Blasey Ford and others of sexual assault in his high school and college years.
The Washington Post reported Saturday on Sullivan’s latest move (excerpt):
The federal judge who refused a Justice Department request to immediately drop the prosecution of former Trump adviser Michael Flynn has hired a high-profile trial lawyer to argue his reasons for investigating whether dismissing the case is legally or ethically appropriate.
In a rare step that adds to this criminal case’s already unusual path, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has retained Beth Wilkinson to represent him in defending his decision to a federal appeals court in Washington, according to a person familiar with the hire who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is now examining the judge’s actions and the larger case against Flynn after lawyers for Trump’s former national security adviser asked the court to force Sullivan to toss Flynn’s guilty plea.
Wilkinson, known for her top-notch legal skills and get-results style, is expected to file a notice with the court in the coming week about representing the judge. She declined to comment when reached Friday evening. Sullivan also declined to comment through his office.
…Wilkinson, a go-to advocate for prominent officials snared in major Washington investigations and high-stakes legal battles, now joins the fray. Wilkinson represented Brett M. Kavanaugh when he was a Supreme Court Justice nominee and battling accusations he had sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when they were both teens. Her firm also represented the lawyer and longtime confidant of Hillary Clinton amid an investigation into whether Clinton, then secretary of state, had mishandled classified information while trying to avoid using government emails…
Wilkinson confirmed to Law.com her representation of Sullivan.
…Wilkinson, a co-founder of the litigation boutique Wilkinson Walsh, confirmed Saturday she had been retained by Sullivan, who has served on Washington’s federal trial court since 1994. The Washington Post first reported Wilkinson’s role advocating for the judge.
Wilkinson has long been in the spotlight in Washington legal circles and beyond as a successful defense-side trial lawyer advocating for major U.S. companies. She left the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in 2016 to start the boutique, which has offices in Washington, New York and Los Angeles.
…More recently, Wilkinson was retained by Summer Zervos in a suit in New York state court that accuses Trump of lying in his denials that he did not grope and kiss her without consent in 2007. The case is pending.
In the D.C. Circuit now, Wilkinson is counsel to Cheryl Mills, a former aide to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a dispute over a deposition in a public-records case. One of Sullivan’s colleagues on the bench, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, said the plaintiff—the conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch—could depose Clinton and Mills…
On Thursday a three judge panel on the Court of Appeals ordered Sullivan to respond by June 1 to Powell’s petition. The court also invited the DOJ to file a brief.