Aug. 11 (UPI) -- A Justice Department attorney told a federal appeals court Tuesday that Attorney General William Barr may have had secret information that led him to request that charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn be dropped.
Jeffrey Wall, the acting U.S. solicitor general, hinted at the secretive information during a hearing before the full 10-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The en banc session was held to determine whether the Justice Department should be allowed to drop Flynn's case.
In May, Barr recommended that federal courts drop charges of perjury against Flynn, a retired Army general and top intelligence official who pleaded guilty almost three years ago to lying to the FBI as part of the Russia investigation.
Wall said Barr may have been acting on non-public information when he made that recommendation.
"I just wanted to make clear that it may be possible that the attorney general had before him information that he was not able to share with the court, and so what we put in front of the court were the reasons that we could, but it may not be the whole picture available to the executive branch," Wall told the appeals panel.
The appeals court ordered the hearing last month, reversing a June decision by its three-judge panel that a District Court judge must drop the charges. The court said it reversed the order because the majority of the judges wanted to rehear the appeal.
A majority of the larger panel indicated Tuesday that a District Court should rule on the case.
Flynn originally pleaded guilty to a felony false statement charge in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, but later withdrew the plea. The Justice Department later said it wanted to drop the charges in light of new evidence.
President Donald Trump has previously criticized prosecutors and said Flynn was poorly treated.
Flynn was Trump's national security adviser for about three weeks immediately after Trump took office. He left the post after becoming a focus of the Russia investigation over previous contacts he'd had with Moscow diplomat Sergey Kislyak before Trump was inaugurated.