Experts stunned as DOJ abruptly changes course on Roger Stone sentencing recommendation: ‘Impeach Bill Barr’
On Monday, a federal sentencing memo on veteran GOP operative Roger Stone recommended a prison sentence of seven to nine years. But President Donald Trump has been angrily tweeting his objections, and now, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) appears to be walking back that recommendation.
A DOJ source told Fox News, “The Department finds seven to nine years extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate to Mr. Stone’s offenses.” In November, Stone was convicted on seven federal courts, including witness tampering and lying to Congress.
This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. C… https://t.co/as5QvEacVs— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1581403707.0
On Twitter, legal experts and pundits have been weighing in on the new, more lenient sentencing recommendations for Stone.
Scott Hechinger lamented that “millions” of criminal defendants in the U.S. are not “provided with the same care” and “individualized justice Roger Stone will receive.” And attorney Bradley P. Moss posted, “I do not envy the DOJ lawyers who are going to have to convince the judge that political pressure was not applied to suddenly backtrack on their sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone.”
I do not envy the DOJ lawyers who are going to have to convince the judge that political pressure was not applied t… https://t.co/Ac6icqhxWx— Bradley P. Moss (@Bradley P. Moss)1581439556.0
It would be nice if the millions & millions of other people hauled into court & facing “extreme” treatment every da… https://t.co/17rSzDLRoU— Scott Hechinger (@Scott Hechinger)1581440366.0
Seems pretty unprecedented to have the DOJ meddle like this so publicly in the sentencing of a convicted defendant.… https://t.co/9MftKOClZz— Shimon Prokupecz (@Shimon Prokupecz)1581441808.0
Susan Hennessey had one word in response to the DOJ revising its sentencing guidelines on Stone: “whoa.”
Steve Vladeck was appalled, tweeting, “A U.S. Attorney who actually believed in the rule of law and/or any modicum of prosecutorial independence would resign in protest.” And Rep. Don Beyer was equally biting when he posted, “Bill Barr’s naked corruption is getting worse by the day, and it’s going to do lasting damage.”
Erick Fernandez was also quite critical of Barr. “There can be reasonable discussions to be had about whether sentencing filing against Roger Stone was too harsh,” Fernandez wrote. “The fact that this is happening after Trump angrily rants at 1:30am on Twitter is not a coincidence, though. Bill Barr is a GOP operative.”
Cristian Farias didn’t try to hide his disgust, posting, “The Justice Department is rotten to the core. I’m all for more leniency and mercy for all. But when those things are only available to someone who’s white, well-connected, and with a long history of kissing up to power, it shows how corrupted the whole thing is.”
Woah. https://t.co/W6kO0t5wzH— Susan Hennessey (@Susan Hennessey)1581440565.0
@steve_vladeck Sometimes I empathize with the frogs in the pot since it can be legitimately hard to know when it's… https://t.co/OZj5hSDQRe— Dan Gordon (@Dan Gordon)1581441822.0
A week after Senate Republicans end his show trial for abuse of power Trump interferes in the sentencing of his cri… https://t.co/kKXIgUscaF— Rep. Don Beyer (@Rep. Don Beyer)1581440593.0
I’d expect the U.S. attorney and the line prosecutors who recommended a harsh sentence for Roger Stone to hold the… https://t.co/VwZ8334fak— Cristian Farias (@Cristian Farias)1581441527.0
Bill Barr is eviscerating the rule of law in this country and I hope someone in Congress has the energy left to rai… https://t.co/sOqAB4wOb3— Michelle Goldberg (@Michelle Goldberg)1581439673.0