Legal Twitter freaked out on Tuesday when it was reported that higher-ups at the Department of Justice were immediately ready to suggest lighter punishment for Roger Stone after a late-night Twitter outburst from the President of the United States.
In case you missed it on Monday, federal prosecutors in the District of Columbia did the math on the totality of Stone’s conduct and concluded that a recommendation of seven to nine years behind bars was the appropriate punishment for lying, witness tampering and obstructing justice. That’s what the guidelines told them, they said. Leaving aside the fact that there’s virtually no way Stone would end up with a punishment this severe, President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Tuesday morning and decried the sentencing recommendation as deeply unfair.
“Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!” the president said in part, while hinting at a pardon down the line for his pal.
Well, an unidentified senior DOJ official is already telling both Fox News and CNN reporters that the recommendation for Stone is “extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate,” that it was not what was discussed, and that prosecutors will basically go back to the drawing board/explain themselves.
The reaction to this? DOJ is “rotten to the core”; “this is unheard of”; DOJ is a “political tool”; “excuse me, what?”; “deeply alarming.”
The above adds up to only a few examples of the outrage.
Now would be a good time to remind readers that Attorney General William Barr has installed his counsel at the Department of Justice, Timothy Shea, as U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C.–the office handling “lingering” Robert Mueller cases, like the ones against Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.
Prosecutors recently reversed course on Flynn’s sentencing memo as well. After recommending prison time, they said they would be fine with probation–even as Flynn’s legal team moved to withdraw his guilty plea and accused federal prosecutors of misconduct.
[Image via Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images]
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