In a setback for a key ally of former President Donald Trump, a federal judge last week denied a request from former national security adviser Michael Flynn seeking a temporary restraining order to halt subpoenas from the House committee probing the Jan. 6 Capitol unrest, as the Washington Examiner reports.
The committee is pursuing testimony and documentary evidence from a number of individuals close to the former president, and in response to a request that he produce such material, Flynn sued the committee on Tuesday on the grounds that he believes its subpoenas are violative of his free speech rights and his right against self-incrimination, according to NBC News.
In court filings, the former Army lieutenant general declared, “Without intervention by this Court, General Flynn faces the harm of being irreparably and illegally coerced to produce information and testimony in violation of the law and his constitutional rights.”
Flynn’s lawsuit comes in the wake of a communication from Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) telling him that the committee hoped to inquire about a meeting with Trump and others in which he participated in December of 2020.
According to Thompson, that meeting included discussions centered around the possibility of “seizing voting machines, declaring a national emergency, invoking certain national security emergency powers, and continuing to spread the message that the November 2020 election had been tainted by widespread fraud.”
In response, Flynn’s attorney claimed that his client was not involved with the Jan. 6 protests and decried the committee’s subpoena overreach in which it made “a broad set of document requests that pertain to [Flynn’s] 1st Amendment activity as a private citizen, including the basis of his political beliefs, what he communicated about his political beliefs, and to whom he communicated those political beliefs.”
On Wednesday, however, Judge Mary Scriven of the Middle District of Florida in Tampa declined Flynn’s restraining order request, finding a lack of urgency and determining that the was no threat of “immediate and irreparable harm,” given the current status of the committee’s schedule, as the Examiner noted.
Underpinning that decision was Scriven’s assessment that the committee had already pushed back any deposition of Flynn to “a date to be determined,” and that while the subpoena requested document production by Nov. 23, she found that “there is no evidence in the record as to the date by which the select committee now expects Flynn to comply with its document requests.”
Though Flynn may have hit a slight roadblock with this ruling, Scriven noted that he has the ability to refile this request at a later date. Whether his underlying effort to obtain injunctive relief from the House Democrats’ political witch hunt will succeed, however, is something that remains to be seen.