Stone Reversal Latest Example Of Trump’s Politicized & Corrupt DOJ
February 11, 2020
Hours after Trump complained about federal prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, the Department of Justice reversed the decision of its own prosecutors and lowered the recommended prison time. In protest of this corrupt decision, three career prosecutors on the case have already resigned, with one leaving DOJ entirely.
In a stunning reversal, the DOJ caved to political pressure from Trump and overruled its own prosecutors to seek a shorter sentence for Roger Stone.
New York Times: “Senior Justice Department officials intervened to overrule front-line prosecutors and will recommend a more lenient sentencing for Roger J. Stone Jr., convicted last year of impeding investigators in a bid to protect his longtime friend President Trump, a senior department official said Tuesday. The move is highly unusual and is certain to generate allegations of political interference.”
Associated Press: “It is extremely rare for Justice Department leaders to reverse the decision of its own prosecutors on a sentencing recommendation, particularly after that recommendation has been submitted to the court. Normally, United States attorneys have wide latitude to recommend sentences on cases that they prosecuted.”
Bloomberg’s Mike Dorning: “BREAKING: Justice Department lowers Roger Stone sentencing recommendation to 3- to 4-years.”
Three career prosecutors who worked on the case abruptly resigned, with one leaving DOJ completely, in response to the department’s decision.
Axios: “Three former Mueller prosecutors — Aaron Zelinsky, Jonathan Kravis and Aaron Jed — withdrew from the Stone case on Tuesday afternoon. Zelinsky and Kravis resigned from their positions as special assistant U.S. attorney and assistant U.S. attorney in D.C., respectively. ”
Reminder: Stone is Trump’s longest serving political advisor and was convicted last year of seven felonies, which prosecutors say he committed to help Trump.
New York Times: “Mr. Stone, 67, was convicted in federal court of seven felonies for obstructing the congressional inquiry, lying to investigators under oath and trying to block the testimony of a witness whose account would have exposed his lies. … Together, the charges carry a maximum prison term of 50 years.”
CNN: “In all, the prosecutors argued that the last four days of witness testimony, plus Stone’s texts, emails and phone records, showed Stone wanting to help Trump, being interested in reaching WikiLeaks about the hacked documents it had, and speaking to the Trump campaign and even Trump himself about it.”
Just yesterday, Bill Barr confirmed that he set up a process for Rudy Giuliani, who is under investigation by DOJ, to pass information intended to help Trump politically to the department.
CNN: “Attorney General William Barr confirmed Monday that the Justice Department has been receiving information from Rudy Giuliani about his operation in Ukraine, solidifying the channels through which political dirt on the President’s rivals has made it into the country’s top law enforcement agency.”
Washington Post: “The matter is complicated, too, because Giuliani is under investigation by the Justice Department. That case already has produced campaign finance charges against two of his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who helped in Giuliani’s Ukraine-related pursuits.”
Late last month, Barr’s DOJ walked back a recommendation of prison time for Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
Washington Post: “Prosecutors backed away from their recommendation that former national security adviser Michael Flynn serve up to six months in prison, saying in a court filing Wednesday that probation remained a ‘reasonable sentence’ that they would not oppose.”