Leading Justice Department management put “heavy pressure” on a leading federal prosecutor to cut former Donald Trump assistant Roger Stone a break in his sentencing, a former prosecutor on the case prepares to inform your home Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
Aaron S.J. Zelinsky will inform Congress that he consistently heard that Stone “was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the President,” according to ready statement.
Stone, who was founded guilty of lying to Congress and witness tampering, eventually got a sentence of 40 months in jail after DOJ management intervened in the event.
Zelinksy will state that Stone’s case was dealt with in an “unusual and unprecedented way” which management put “significant pressure” on line prosecutors to “obscure the correct Sentencing Guidelines calculation to which Roger Stone was subject ― and to water down and in some cases outright distort the events that transpired in his trial and the criminal conduct that gave rise to his conviction.”
Zelinsky will inform your home Judiciary Committee that acting U.S. Lawyer for the District of Columbia Timothy Shea, a close partner of Chief law officer William Barr, “was receiving heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice to cut Stone a break, and that the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing instructions to us were based on political considerations.”
“I was also told that the acting U.S. Attorney was giving Stone such unprecedentedly favorable treatment because he was ‘afraid of the President,’” Zelinsky will affirm.
“To be clear, my concern is not with this sentencing outcome,” Zelinsky will inform legislators. “It is about the process and the fact that the Department of Justice treated Roger Stone differently and more leniently in ways that are virtually, if not entirely, unprecedented.”
Zelinsky will state that he has “never seen political influence play any role in prosecutorial decision making … with one exception: United States v. Roger Stone.”
When a manager in the U.S. Lawyer’s Office for the District of Columbia thanked Zelinsky for his deal with the case, Zelinsky stated he reacted that he continued to think that “changing a sentencing recommendation based on political considerations and the fact that the U.S. attorney was ‘afraid of the President’ (in your words) was wrong, contrary to DOJ policy, and unethical, at a minimum.”
Another Justice Department official in the antitrust division will affirm that Chief law officer William Barr intervened in cases including cannabis business mergers due to the fact that “the cannabis industry is unpopular ‘on the fifth floor,’ a reference to Attorney General Barr’s offices in the DOJ headquarters building.”
Read Zelinsky’s opening declaration below.
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