Full appeals court to review decision ordering dismissal of case against former Trump adviser Michael Flynn

FILE - President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on June 24, 2019 in Washington, DC.

A federal appeals court said Thursday it plans to review a decision ordering the dismissal of the Justice Department's case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The action by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is likely to prolong the fight over Flynn's fate and represents yet another dramatic development in a case that has taken unexpected twists and turns over the last year and turned Flynn into something of a cause celebre for President Donald Trump and his supporters.

The court set arguments for Aug. 11. It did not offer an explanation for its decision in a brief order posted online.

A three-judge panel of the court ruled 2-1 last month that U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan had overstepped his bounds by not granting the Justice Department's request to dismiss the case against Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition period.

The Justice Department in May moved to dismiss the case against Flynn, one of the signature prosecutions of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference. 

The motion followed a review by a U.S. attorney appointed by Attorney General William Barr to scrutinize the case.

The department concluded that the FBI had insufficient grounds to question Flynn about his contacts with the ambassador and that statements he made during the interview were not material to the broader counterintelligence investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

But rather than immediately dismiss the case, Sullivan appointed a retired federal judge to argue against the Justice Department's position and to consider whether Flynn could be held in criminal contempt for perjury. Flynn's lawyers asked the appeals court to step in and order Sullivan to grant the department's request.