The entire team of prosecutors responsible who made the government's case against longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, resigned on Tuesday after the Justice Department indicated it planned to reduce a recommended sentence for Stone.
Prosecutors on Monday filed a 26-page sentencing memorandum that recommended seven to nine years in prison for Stone, a sentence they said was consistent with federal sentencing guidelines.
However, after President Donald Trump called the sentencing proposal a "miscarriage of justice," the Justice Department announced it would pull back on its request to sentence Stone up to nine years in prison.
The revised sentence does not recommend a specific sentence, but urges the judge in the case, Judge Amy Berman Jackson, to consider Stone's "advanced age, health, personal circumstances, and lack of criminal history in fashioning an appropriate sentence."
"The defendant committed serious offenses and deserves a sentence of incarceration," the filing states. "On the facts known to the government, a sentence of between 87 to 108 months’ imprisonment, however, could be considered excessive and unwarranted under the circumstances. Ultimately, the government defers to the Court as to what specific sentence is appropriate under the facts and circumstances of this case."
After the new filing was made public, the lead prosecutor on the case, Aaron Zelinsky withdrew, resigning "effective immediately." Zelinsky will remain with the Justice Department and will leave the D.C. U.S. Attorney's Office and return to his old job with the U.S. attorney in Maryland.
A second prosecutor, Jonathan Kravis, joined Zelinsky in resigning, but he resigned from both the case and as an assistant U.S. attorney. Two other prosecutors, Adam Jed, and Michael Marando, also filed their notice to withdraw from the case.
In a press avail in the Oval Office on Tuesday, President Trump said he hadn't spoken with the DOJ about the sentencing recommendation, but that he'd "be able to do it if I wanted."
"I have the absolute right to do it. I stay out of things to a degree that people wouldn't believe," Trump told reporters, adding that he "thought the recommendation was ridiculous. I thought the whole prosecution was ridiculous."
Trump praised Attorney General Bill Barr for taking control of the case in a tweet on Wednesday.
Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought. Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!
Stone was convicted in November 2019 for lying to Congress and obstructing an investigation into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Prosecutors portrayed Stone as a serial liar who obstructed the House's investigation because the truth would have been embarrassing to Trump's campaign. Five government witnesses alongside dozens of emails and texts were introduced into evidence by prosecutors who said they showed Stone had repeatedly lied to the committee.
The indictment against Stone was one of the last brought by special counsel Robert Muller, who was investigating the Trump campaign's interest in emails hacked by Russia and released by WikiLeaks.
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