Roger Stone, who was one of Donald Trump’s former advisers, was found guilty on seven different counts. He was convicted for various crimes, including tampering with witnesses, lying, and the obstruction of justice. After all the allegations were brought forth and everything was taken into consideration the prosecutors requested that Stone should face at least 7-9 years in prison for his wrongdoings.
However, they were very surprised to see that the Department of Justice did not accept their request, but rather submitted a new recommendation of fewer months of imprisonment for his serious crimes. The reasoning given by the Department of Justice for reducing the sentence was because of Stone’s age, personal life circumstances, and his less than perfect health. The DOJ also made their decision based on the fact he had no prior criminal record and the witness who he was accused of intimidating stated himself that he did not feel very threatened by Stone’s actions.
All four prosecutors: Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed, Michael Marando, and Jonathan Kravis stepped down from the case shortly after the DOJ made their new recommendation. Zelinsky and Kravis resigned from their positions entirely.
The interesting fact about the sudden decision for the DOJ was that they did not consult with the White House before stating the recommendation. In fact, their decision was most probably made based on a tweet posted by Donald Trump. Trump tweeted that for Stone to be sentenced to such a long period of imprisonment was a ‘miscarriage of justice’ and that he was going to investigate matters further. It was after this tweet was posted that the DOJ made their hasty decision and the respective prosecutors withdrew from the case.
What happens with Roger Stone now?
Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, sent a letter to the DOJ inspector general with a request to look further into this unfair reduction in the sentencing of Robert Stone. As matters unfold it will become apparent whether the DOJ will increase the sentencing or stick to their original recommendation. Judging by the reaction of Donald Trump and the prosecutors, it seems the latter is a lot more probable.
Instead of waiting for the DOJ to increase or reevaluate their recommendation, it makes more sense to wait and see what the details of the new recommendation will be. The attorneys working for Robert Stone stated that they believe he would be forced to face anywhere between 15-20 months of jail time.
Cases like these are, unfortunately, not very rare in the political arena. Stone clearly was a part of many illegal issues and he was found guilty for almost all the charges laid against him. He definitely does deserve incarceration. However, due to the response of the current president of the United States, the DOJ took a different stance on his case and they are clearly trying to reduce his penalty simply to stay on the same page as those in power.