The Department of Justice made a major announcement regarding the possible sentence of Roger Stone. This may have been caused by President Trump’s tweet that a sentence of 7 to 9 years would be a great injustice for his former colleague.
The entire team that was assigned to the criminal case abruptly resigned after the announcement to change his possible sentence. The DOJ did not give an exact number of years, but it did comment that the sentence should be updated to more accurately reflect DOJ policies and sentencing guidelines. The department also asked Judge Jackson, who is presiding over the case, to consider Stone’s age, lack of a prior criminal record, and health when issuing a sentence, as he is an elderly man.
Multiple resignations tied to the Stone case
The filing said it would defer to the court’s judgment, but the document did point out that putting Stone in jail for over 7 years would be “excessive and unwarranted.” Lead prosecutor Zelinsky resigned from the case once he became aware that a recommendation to reduce Stone’s possible jail time was impending. The court filing addressed his resignation in a footnote. Zelinsky is not leaving the DOJ entirely, but is returning to a prior position as a federal prosecutor in Maryland. He was most well known for being a part of the team that investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election under Robert Mueller.
Another member of the team, named Jonathan Kravis, left his position with the U.S. Attorney’s office entirely when he left the Stone case. Kravis and two other lawyers working on the case filed a motion to inform the judge that they would no longer be representing the interests of the government against Stone.
Trump used some aggressive and colorful language on Twitter, calling the initial sentencing a disgrace and a miscarriage of justice. He also implied that the democrats and others who began the investigation were the ones actually at fault, yet they have not faced any punishment. A top official with the DOJ claims that their formal decision regarding the sentencing was made prior to Trump’s comments.
Trump added that he could have met with the DOJ and intervened during this process, but he chose not to get involved. He later claimed that the Mueller probe “put everybody through hell” and was a disgrace to the country. He insulted all of the prosecutors involved on Twitter by saying their investigation was a scam and it was illegal. Trump claims that they all should be charged with prosecutorial misconduct and Stone should be pardoned.
Senator Schumer of New York was not pleased and said that there should be an investigation into Trump’s coercion of the DOJ. He further stated that the department should not be corrupted due to Trump’s personal feelings and interests. Schumer is asking for oversight of the case to make sure Stone receives an appropriate sentence that is fair based on the crimes he committed.
Trump’s preferred form of communication
President Trump has been known to post a number of controversial ideas on his personal Twitter account. Despite criticism regarding this behavior, he continues to address the nation through both Twitter and more formal avenues.