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DOJ Overrides 'Excessive' Sentencing Recommendation for Trump Ally Roger Stone
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=52305"><span class="small">Betsy Swan, The Daily Beast</span></a>   
Tuesday, 11 February 2020 14:07

Swan writes: "Department of Justice headquarters has stepped in to try to shorten Roger Stone's still-unannounced prison sentence, a senior Department official confirmed to The Daily Beast on Tuesday."

Roger Stone. (photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters)
Roger Stone. (photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters)

DOJ Overrides 'Excessive' Sentencing Recommendation for Trump Ally Roger Stone

By Betsy Swan, The Daily Beast

11 February 20

The Department of Justice stepped in after prosecutors said they were seeking seven to nine years in prison for Trump’s ally.

epartment of Justice headquarters has stepped in to try to shorten Roger Stone’s still-unannounced prison sentence, calling a sentencing recommendation of seven to nine years in prison “grossly disproportionate,” a senior Department official confirmed to The Daily Beast. 

Hours after the DOJ’s intervention on Tuesday, two prosecutors handling Stone’s case, Aaron Zelinsky and Jonathan Kravis, told the judge they were withdrawing immediately as attorneys.

On Monday, prosecutors had asked a federal judge to sentence Stone to seven to nine years in prison. The Republican operative, who previously advised Trump’s campaign and has known the president for decades, was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing a Congressional probe. He will be sentenced on Feb. 20.

Adam Jed and Zelinsky, two prosecutors who worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, signed off on the sentencing recommendation, along with Timothy Shea, whom Attorney General Bill Barr named as interim U.S. Attorney for Washington D.C. 

Trump reacted volcanically to news of the recommendation in a tweet sent at 1:48 a.m. on Tuesday. 

And within a few hours, a senior Justice Department official indicated they would override the sentencing recommendation. The official told The Daily Beast that Main Justice was “shocked” to see the seven to nine year recommendation.

“The Department finds the recommendation, as it was filed, extreme and excessive and grossly disproportionate to Stone’s offenses,” the official said, adding the department will “clarify its position” later Tuesday.

The official said DOJ leadership decided to override the recommendation, and that the leadership had been told the prosecutors handling Stone’s case would ask for less time than what they ultimately asked for. Fox News reported earlier today on a similar comment.

Soon after the DOJ’s announcement, Zelinksy withdrew as an attorney and resigned “effective immediately” as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for District of Columbia, according to a court filing. He will still work in the US attorney’s office in Baltimore.

Kravis, who previously worked in the White House Counsel’s office under President Barack Obama before returning to DOJ and working on some of the cases Mueller’s team brought, told the judge on Tuesday afternoon that he had “resigned as an Assistant United States Attorney” and therefore no longer represented the government.

Kerri Kupec, a DOJ spokesperson, said on Tuesday afternoon that DOJ officials did not consult with the White House regarding their decision to override the initial sentencing recommendation.

She also said the decision was not a response to the president’s tweet, and that Barr was not aware of Trump’s views before the department decided to override the recommendation. That decision was made last night, she said. your social media marketing partner
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:31