search
Sections List
American Journal News

Prosecutors quit Stone case after DOJ backtracks on sentencing

Justice Department attorneys have notified the court that they are withdrawing from the case, less than a day after Trump tweeted that their initial sentencing recommendation was ‘unfair.’

By Melanie Schmitz - February 11, 2020
Share
Roger Stone

The Justice Department’s extraordinary decision to undermine an earlier sentencing recommendation for longtime Donald Trump ally Roger Stone this week has prompted several of the federal prosecutors on the case to withdraw in protest.

According to NBC News, lead prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky withdrew from the case Tuesday afternoon. The outlet reported that Zelinsky, who served on former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation team, would retain his job with the U.S. Attorney in Maryland, but would be departing the Washington, D.C., U.S. Attorney’s office.

A second prosecutor, Jonathan Kravis, resigned “both from the case and his job as an assistant U.S. attorney” according to NBC News.

A third prosecutor, Adam Jed, also filed a notice of withdrawal on Tuesday afternoon. Not long after, a fourth prosecutor, Michael Marando, gave notice of his withdrawal as well.

Around the same time, the Justice Department issued a new sentencing recommendation in Stone’s case, stating that “the defendant committed serious offenses and deserves a sentence of incarceration that is ‘sufficient, but not greater than necessary’ […].”

“Ultimately, the government defers to the Court as to what specific sentence is appropriate under the facts and circumstances of this case,” it concluded.

The Justice Department’s decision to shorten Stone’s sentencing recommendations was announced earlier on Tuesday, following a tweet from Trump in which he complained about a “miscarriage of justice,” though officials claimed they had made their decision before Trump commented on the matter.

Initially, prosecutors had recommended Stone, who was convicted of witness tampering and obstruction of justice in November, serve seven to nine years in prison.

Stone’s actions, which were unearthed during Mueller’s nearly two-year-long probe, “were not a one-off mistake in judgment,” they wrote in a sentencing memo filed Monday evening. “Nor were his false statements made in the heat of the moment. They were nowhere close to that.”

“Stone’s conduct over the past two years shows the low regard in which he holds the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation and this very criminal case,” they added.

Early Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted that the decision to seek such a long prison sentence was “unfair.”

“This is a horrible and very unfair situation,” he wrote at 1:48 a.m. EST. “The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!”

Hours later, the Justice Department announced it had made the astonishing decision to shorten that recommended sentence.

An unnamed official told Fox News Trump’s comments had not influenced that decision, which they claimed was made prior to his tweet.

“The Department was shocked to see the sentencing recommendation in the filing in the stone case last night,” the official said. “The sentencing recommendation was not what had been briefed to the Department.”

Stone was convicted last November on seven counts of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice.

As the Associated Press noted Tuesday, 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.” Typically, attorneys are given “wide latitude” on their sentencing recommendations.

“Sentencing decisions are ultimately up to the judge, who in this case may side with the original Justice Department recommendation,” the outlet added, noting that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is overseeing Stone’s case, has “repeatedly scolded Stone for his out-of-court behavior, which included a social media post he made of the judge with what appeared to be crosshairs of a gun.”

Stone eventually deleted that image and apologized but was still barred from speaking publicly about the case.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


AJ News
Get the latest news here first.

Tai News

Newsletter
Read More
Biden rallies Democrats in Las Vegas: ‘Imagine the nightmare’ if Trump reelected

Biden rallies Democrats in Las Vegas: ‘Imagine the nightmare’ if Trump reelected

By April Corbin Girnus, Nevada Current - February 05, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
White House calls for focus on tutoring, summer school, absenteeism as pandemic aid winds down

White House calls for focus on tutoring, summer school, absenteeism as pandemic aid winds down

By Kalyn Belsha, Chalkbeat and Erica Meltzer, Chalkbeat Colorado - January 22, 2024
Trump legal problems abound as first test of 2024 presidential campaign nears in Iowa

Trump legal problems abound as first test of 2024 presidential campaign nears in Iowa

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom and Jacob Fischler, Georgia Recorder - January 08, 2024
December jobs report: Wages up, hiring steady as job market ends year strong

December jobs report: Wages up, hiring steady as job market ends year strong

By Casey Quinlan - January 05, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
AJ News
Latest
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats building a wall on the Oklahoma border

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats building a wall on the Oklahoma border

By Jesse Valentine - February 22, 2024
More than 48,600 18-year-olds are registered to vote in Ohio, a 35% increase from late August

More than 48,600 18-year-olds are registered to vote in Ohio, a 35% increase from late August

By Megan Henry, Ohio Capital Journal - February 22, 2024
Not if, but when: Parents of slain Parkland students urge Utah lawmakers to pass school safety bill

Not if, but when: Parents of slain Parkland students urge Utah lawmakers to pass school safety bill

By Kyle Dunphey, Utah News Dispatch - February 21, 2024
Key takeaways from Monday’s U.S. Senate Ohio Republican primary debate

Key takeaways from Monday’s U.S. Senate Ohio Republican primary debate

By Nick Evans, Ohio Capital Journal - February 20, 2024
Human, financial costs of gun violence are growing dramatically, health care group says

Human, financial costs of gun violence are growing dramatically, health care group says

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - February 20, 2024
Mark Robinson gun raffle raises campaign finance questions

Mark Robinson gun raffle raises campaign finance questions

By Jesse Valentine - February 16, 2024