Several prosecutors in Roger Stone’s criminal case abruptly resigned from the case on Tuesday after the Justice Department said it planned to reduce its recommended 7 to 9 years sentence for the longtime Trump ally.
The Justice Department pulled back on its request after President Donald Trump blasted the initial sentencing proposal as “a miscarriage of justice.
President Trump weighs in on Roger Stone and discusses Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s exit, the New Hampshire primary and Adam Schiff.
The Hill reports the four Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors who recommended Roger Stone be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison left the case Tuesday after top officials sought to reduce their sentencing request.
Prosecutors Michael Marando, Adam Jed, Jonathan Kravis and Aaron Zelinsky all asked the judge in the case for permission to withdraw. Kravis left the DOJ entirely, announcing his resignation as an assistant U.S. attorney.
The four were involved in providing the initial sentencing guidance for Stone. But in a rebuke to the career prosecutors, the DOJ on Tuesday told the judge in the case to apply “far less” to Stone’s sentence.
“The government respectfully submits that a sentence of incarceration far less than 87 to 108 months’ imprisonment would be reasonable under the circumstances,” the DOJ wrote in a memo late Tuesday afternoon.
“While it remains the position of the United States that a sentence of incarceration is warranted here, the government respectfully submits that the range of 87 to 108 months presented as the applicable advisory Guidelines range would not be appropriate or serve the interests of justice in this case,” the memo added.
The DOJ decision and the withdrawal of career prosecutors from the case stunned legal watchers and Washington and raised questions about potential political interference in the sentencing of a longtime Trump adviser.
Reports of the DOJ reversal said top officials found the initial guidelines to be “excessive.” Those reports also came after Trump blasted the guidelines on Twitter, saying that Stone was treated unfairly by prosecutors.
“This is a horrible and very unfair situation,” the president tweeted. “The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!”
This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice! https://t.co/rHPfYX6Vbv
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2020
Speaking with reporters in the Oval Office, Trump said he didn’t tell the Justice Department to amend its sentencing guidance but that he would have been within his rights to do so.
“I’d be able to do it if I wanted. I have the absolute right to do it. I stay out of things,” Trump said.