Federal prosecutor who resigned in protest pens a blistering denunciation of Bill Barr's DOJ

Federal prosecutor who resigned in protest pens a blistering denunciation of Bill Barr's DOJ

When Attorney General Bill Barr intervened in the criminal case against long-time Trump ally Roger Stone in February, Jonathan Kravis was so appalled that he resigned from the U.S. Department of Justice — where he had spent a decade as a federal prosecutor. And now, Kravis is appalled by developments in another criminal case involving a Trump ally: former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

On Thursday, May 7, the DOJ moved to drop the case against Flynn — who had pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016. Kravis explains why he finds this development so troubling in an op-ed for the Washington Post.

“Flynn pleaded guilty to the crime of making false statements in connection with lies he told in an FBI interview about his contacts with the Russian ambassador,” Kravis writes. “Flynn twice admitted under oath that he had committed this crime, and the trial judge issued a lengthy opinion upholding the plea. Nevertheless, after public criticism of the prosecution by the president, the department moved to dismiss Flynn’s case, claiming that new evidence showed that the plea had no basis. None of the career prosecutors who handled Flynn’s case signed that motion.”

Kravis stresses that in both Flynn’s case and Stone’s case, the Barr-era DOJ “undercut the work of career employees to protect an ally of the president, an abdication of the commitment to equal justice under the law.”

Looking back on February, Kravis recalls that President Donald Trump “posted a tweet criticizing the sentencing recommendation” for Stone “as a ‘miscarriage of justice.’ Later that day, the Justice Department submitted a revised memo revoking the original recommendation and proposing that Stone receive a much shorter sentence. All four career prosecutors who had tried Stone withdrew from the case. I resigned because I was not willing to serve a department that would so easily abdicate its responsibility to dispense impartial justice.”

Kravis’ disdain for Barr is obvious in his op-ed: he believes that Trump’s attorney general has brought disgrace to the DOJ. But Kravis ends his op-ed on an optimistic note, telling DOJ employees they can take some comfort in knowing that Barr won’t be U.S. attorney general forever.

“The task of repairing this damage will fall to the department’s career agents and prosecutors, and it is for them that I write this,” Kravis explains. “Your work of investigating and prosecuting criminal cases is hard, and it becomes even harder when witnesses and jurors start to believe that the Justice Department’s handling of these cases is infected by politics. Your service during these times is a credit to the department. And you will be at your posts, serving justice, long after this attorney general is gone.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.