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Legalbrief   |   your legal news hub Wednesday 12 August 2020

Lawyers quit over DoJ's slashed sentence for Roger Stone

Four lawyers who prosecuted political operative Roger Stone have resigned in protest after their sentencing recommendation was overruled and slashed by Donald Trump’s Justice Department. According to a report in The Guardian, Aaron Zelinsky, Jonathan Kravis, Adam Jed and Michael Marando quit the case while Democrats demanded an independent investigation into what they described as a dangerously politicised and corrupt Justice Department. The growing crisis raised fresh questions over the role of William Barr, the Attorney-General who has been criticised as a partisan Trump loyalist. Stone, a self-described dirty trickster, was found guilty last November of seven crimes, including obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering. In a court filing this week, prosecutors had requested that Stone serve seven to nine years behind bars, arguing that his actions showed ‘contempt for this court and the rule of law’. But just before 2am the next day, Trump registered his disapproval in a tweet, claiming without evidence: ‘The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!’ In an extraordinary move on the same day, a new court filing cut the proposed sentence recommendation and sought to rebut the prosecutors’ arguments, suggesting that seven to nine years would be too harsh. The four prosecutors abruptly resigned from the case. The final decision on Stone’s fate will rest with US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who repeatedly took a harsh tone with Stone during the trial in Washington.