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Politics DOJ denies giving Stone special treatment over prison sentence delay

17:51  26 june  2020
17:51  26 june  2020 Source:   thehill.com

Prosecutor in Roger Stone Case Will Testify About Barr’s Intervention

  Prosecutor in Roger Stone Case Will Testify About Barr’s Intervention Two Justice Department officials have agreed to testify under subpoena before the House Judiciary Committee next week about politicization under Attorney General William P. Barr, setting up a likely fight with the department about what they will be permitted to say. House Democrats issued subpoenas on Tuesday to the two officials, including Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, one of the career prosecutors who quit a case against President Trump’s friend Roger J. Stone Jr. after Mr. Barr and other senior officials decided to intervene to reverse their recommendation that Mr. Stone be sentenced in accord with standard guidelines and instead requested leniency.

Roger Stone was sentenced Thursday to just more than three years in prison , a decision that raises immediate questions about Trump has been using his Twitter bully pulpit to repeatedly harangue the Justice Department over its handling of the case, sparking concerns that the president influenced

DoJ leadership changed the sentencing recommendation for Stone hours after Trump tweeted his displeasure, saying it was too harsh. Barr has said he ordered the new filing hours before the tweet because he was caught off guard by the sentencing recommendation and believed it was excessive

The Department of Justice late Thursday told a federal judge that it was backing Roger Stone's request to delay the start of his prison sentence because of his health issues that put him at risk to the coronavirus, denying that the former Trump adviser was receiving special treatment.

Roger Stone wearing a suit and tie: DOJ denies giving Stone special treatment over prison sentence delay © Aaron Schwartz DOJ denies giving Stone special treatment over prison sentence delay

Prosecutors in the D.C. U.S. Attorney's office said in a court filing that it was adhering to the DOJ's directive not to oppose reasonable delays in sentencing amid the pandemic.

Stone is scheduled to report to begin his 40-month prison sentence on June 30, and earlier this week, he asked to push the start date back 60 days.

Prosecutor says he was pressured to cut Roger Stone 'a break' because of his ties to Trump

  Prosecutor says he was pressured to cut Roger Stone 'a break' because of his ties to Trump Aaron Zelinsky will testify before Congress about alleged political interference at the Justice Department."What I heard – repeatedly – was that Roger Stone was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the President," Aaron Zelinsky, one of four prosecutors who quit the case, plans to tell the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday, according to his prepared testimony. "I was also told that the acting U.S. Attorney was giving Stone such unprecedentedly favorable treatment because he was 'afraid of the President.

Aaron Zelinsky, a career Justice Department prosecutor who was part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and worked on the case against Stone , told the committee that Stone was treated differently before his sentencing because of his relationship with the president.

Whistle-Blower Says DOJ Aimed to Give Trump Ally Roger Stone a Break. A department spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, said in a statement posted on Twitter that Zelinsky did not discuss the sentencing with the attorney general “or any other member of political leadership at the department .”

"At no point since that original designation has the U.S. Attorney's Office had any role in or attempted to exert any influence over whether [the Bureau of Prisons] should revise the June 30 surrender date," the filing reads.

The court filing comes in response to U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson demanding to know why the DOJ had not opposed Stone's effort to delay his sentence.

Stone is facing three years and four months at a federal prison in Jesup, Ga., after a jury convicted him on seven counts of obstruction and witness tampering stemming from his testimony to Congress about his efforts to serve as a liaison between the 2016 Trump campaign and WikiLeaks. He's appealing his sentence and Jackson's denial of his motion for a new trial.

Roger Stone seeks to delay prison, citing virus concerns

  Roger Stone seeks to delay prison, citing virus concerns The longtime Trump adviser is asking a federal court for a delay of more than two months.In a series of hyperbolic Instagram postings over the past few days, Stone has starkly warned that he is facing likely or even “certain” death from the coronavirus if he is forced to report to prison on June 30.

Over the last 16 months, House Democrats and former Justice Department The start of his prison sentence has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. "I was also told that [acting US Attorney Timothy Shea] was giving Stone such unprecedentedly favourable treatment because he was 'afraid

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department gave Roger Stone "unprecedentedly favorable treatment " because he Aaron Zelinsky, an attorney on former special counsel Robert Mueller's team and one of the career Roger Stone prosecutors quit: DOJ backtracks on prison recommendation for Trump ally.

Stone's prison term is looming amid a political battle over allegations that Attorney General William Barr has politicized the DOJ and worked to protect the president's interests and allies.

On Wednesday, Congress heard whistleblower testimony from Aaron Zelinsky, one of the original prosecutors in Stone's case.

Zelinsky and other prosecutors withdrew from the case after the department overruled their recommendation that the longtime GOP operative serve between seven and nine years in prison.

Zelinsky alleged that DOJ leadership intervened in the case to recommend a lighter sentence because of Stone's ties to the president.

"What I saw was that Roger Stone was being treated differently from every other defendant," Zelinsky told the House Judiciary Committee. "He received breaks that are, in my experience, unheard of and all the more so for a defendant in his circumstances — a defendant who lied to Congress, remained unrepentant and who made threats against a judge and a witness in his case."

The DOJ has denied that it gave Stone special treatment or that politics played a role in its decision-making.

Judge rejects Roger Stone request to delay prison term .
The judge says the former Trump adviser’s health issues are under control and the facility he’ll report to has no cases of coronavirus.Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who last week ordered the former Trump adviser immediately into home confinement and to prison on July 14, said she was turning down Stone’s request for a delay until September because prosecutors have made similar arguments against releasing defendants whose health conditions were “in check.

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