Sixteen former Watergate prosecutors have notified Emmet Sullivan, a judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, that they intend to file an "amicus curiae" ("friend of the court") brief in the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn after the Department of Justice (DOJ) moved to dismiss the charges against him.
Flynn had previously pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators, but he moved to withdraw that plea earlier this year, followed by the DOJ decision last week.
Sullivan, however, has not yet approved the DOJ's motion and made the unusual move this week of announcing that he would accept such amicus briefs in the case. Sullivan is a trial judge in a trial court and amicus briefs are typically associated with appellate courts.
Already swooping in were 16 former Watergate prosecutors, who told the court they want to weigh in on the DOJ's motion to drop charges against Flynn. This roster includes a number of Democratic donors and others who have been critical of President Trump before.
"In their roles as Watergate prosecutors, Amici investigated serious abuses of power by President Richard M. Nixon and prosecuted many of President Nixon’s aides for their complicity in his offenses," the Watergate prosecutors' statement of interest reads.
They continued: "Here, where the Motion seeks to reverse a prosecutorial judgment previously entrusted to and made by Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, the value the Watergate Prosecutors’ unique perspective on the need for independent scrutiny and oversight to ensure that crucial decisions about prosecutions of high-ranking government officials are made in the public interest, are viewed as legitimate, and are not subsequently reversed by political intervention."