May 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department moved Thursday to dismiss the criminal case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in a probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Prosecutors asked a U.S. District judge to dismiss the charge of making false statements to the FBI with prejudice against Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general.
Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI in a January interview amid special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian meddling in the presidential election. Flynn said he made the false statement regarding his interactions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
In January, the Justice Department changed its sentencing recommendation from probation for Flynn to six months in prison because it said he was unrepentant. A week later, Flynn asked to withdraw his guilty plea, saying prosecutors broke the plea agreement when they requested jail time.
Handwritten notes in FBI documents, which a federal judge released last month, question whether the "goal" was "to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired."
The release of the FBI documents amplified conservative claims that prosecutors sought to entrap him.
The government "is not persuaded that the Jan. 24, 2017 interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis," the Justice Department said.
Prior to the filing being made public, prosecutor Brandon Van Grack , moved to withdraw from the case.
Speaking to reporters Thursday in the Oval Office, the president described Flynn as "an innocent man," "a great gentleman."
"He was targeted by the Obama administration and he was targeted in order to try and take down a president," Trump said.
"And I hope a lot of people are going to pay a big price because they're dishonest, crooked people. They're scum and I say it a lot, they're scum, they're human scum. This should never have happened in this country."
Trump also criticized the media coverage of Flynn's case and the Russia investigation, calling on journalists to give back their Pulitzer Prizes.