Ex-Roger Stone Prosecutor: DOJ Under 'Heavy Pressure' to Spare Trump's Friend

Ex-Roger Stone Prosecutor: DOJ Under \
Ex-Roger Stone Prosecutor: DOJ Under \'Heavy Pressure\' to Spare Trump\'s Friend  

One of the prosecutors who quit the Roger Stone case in disgust over interference from Attorney General Bill Barr will tell the House Judiciary Committee that the "highest levels of the Department" wanted to spare Stone, a friend of the president's, years of prison time.

"What I heard-repeatedly-was that Roger Stone was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the President," according to a statement from Aaron Zelinsky, one of ex-Special Counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutors.

In February, Zelinsky and three colleagues resigned from the Stone prosecution after Timothy Shea, then the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, recommended a substantially shorter prison term than the seven to nine years Zelinsky recommended. Stone was convicted of lying to Congress about his interactions with WikiLeaks during the 2016 election, witness tampering and obstructing a congressional inquiry. Shea was a former senior aide to Barr who now runs the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Zelinsky's statement calls out Shea by name as "receiving heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice to cut Stone a break, and that the U.S. Attorney's sentencing instructions to us were based on political considerations." He called the department's pursuit of a sentence shorter than its own sentencing guidelines "unheard of" for an "unrepentant" defendant like Stone, who threatened the judge presiding over his case. The judge, Amy Berman Jackson, sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison.

"I was also told that the acting U.S. Attorney was giving Stone such unprecedentedly favorable treatment because he was 'afraid of the President,'" Zelinsky said of Shea.

Trump Ally Roger Stone Gets 40 Months for Lying, Witness-Tampering

Zelinsky's testimony, delivered after the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed him, will come at professional risk. He remains a federal prosecutor in Maryland. An attorney for Zelinsky, the former Office of Director of National Intelligence general counsel Robert Litt, declined to comment.

According to Zelinsky, Shea and his team attempted at least three times in February to get the Stone prosecutors to agree to a reduced sentence. First they requested that Zelinsky's team not apply the full term the sentencing guidelines suggested. When Zelinsky-along with Adam Jed, Jonathan Kravis, and Michael Marando-refused, Shea's team told them "to say that whatever the Guidelines recommended, Stone should get less." They rejected that, as well.

Finally, Shea provided "an instruction" to omit from their sentencing memorandum references to Stone's conduct at trial, such as a threat to Berman that Stone posted on Instagram. Zelinsky says in his statement that he threatened to resign on Feb. 10. Trump rapidly attacked his team's sentencing memorandum as a "miscarriage of justice."

Zelinsky criticized the more lenient memorandum Shea's office produced as "unethical" in a colloquy with a Department colleague that he references in his prepared statement.

"I take no satisfaction in publicly criticizing the actions of the Department of Justice, where I have spent most of my legal career. I have always been and remain proud to be an Assistant United States Attorney," Zelinsky closes his prepared remarks by saying.

Zelinsky will be joined by DOJ antitrust colleague John W. Elias, who will testify about antitrust investigations under Barr that concerned him enough to bring them to the department inspector general's attention. Wednesday's hearing is slated to feature no Justice Department witnesses on Barr or Shea's behalf, though former Attorney General Michael Mukasey is also scheduled to testify.

The committee's Democratic majority is in open conflict with Barr over everything from the similar leniency shown to ex-National Security Adviser Mike Flynn to Barr's specially deputized federal police during the D.C. Black Lives Matter protests to Barr's deceitful attempt at firing the acting U.S. attorney in New York. Last month, they requested a Justice Department inspector general inquiry into Barr's "politicization" of numerous department actions.

But the House Democratic leadership, having lost its fight to impeach Trump, is reluctant to attempt removing Barr from office-meaning that Wednesday's hearing with Zelinsky may be a high-water mark for pressure on the attorney general.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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  • World
  • 2020-07-13 04:02:23Z

The federal government is planning to carry out the first federal execution in nearly two decades on Monday, over the objection of the family of the victims and after a volley of legal proceedings over the coronavirus pandemic. Daniel Lewis Lee, of Yukon, Oklahoma, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 4 p.m. on Monday at a federal prison in Indiana. The execution, the first of a federal death row inmate since 2003, comes after a federal appeals court lifted an injunction on Sunday that had been put in place last week after the victims' family argued they would be put at high risk for coronavirus if they had to travel to attend the execution.

In Commuting Stone
In Commuting Stone's Sentence, Trump Goes Where Nixon Was Not Willing
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  • 2020-07-12 15:31:34Z

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump has said he learned lessons from President Richard Nixon's fall from grace, but in using the power of his office to keep his friend and adviser Roger Stone out of prison he has now crossed a line that even Nixon in the depths of Watergate dared not cross.For months, senior advisers warned Trump that it would be politically self-destructive if not ethically inappropriate to grant clemency to Stone, who was convicted of lying to protect the president. Even Attorney General William Barr, who had already overruled career prosecutors to reduce Stone's sentence, argued against commutation in recent weeks, officials said.But in casting aside their counsel on...

Former Russia special counsel Robert Mueller defends Roger Stone prosecution in wake of Trump commutation
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