A Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutor who asked a judge to sentence Roger Stone to between seven to nine years in prison has withdrawn from the former Trump aide’s case after reports that officials would seek to reduce the sentencing recommendation.
The withdrawal by prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky on Tuesday came after the initial sentencing guidance was sharply criticized by President Trump, raising questions about potential political interference in the sentencing of Stone. Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress and witness tampering.
It’s unclear if Zelinsky’s move was done on his own volition. Zelinsky did not reply to a request for comment.
The move by the DOJ was seen as a sharp rebuke to career prosecutors.
Earlier Tuesday, multiple outlets reported that DOJ officials would seek to change the sentencing recommendations because top officials found it to be “excessive.”
Those reports came after President Trump blasted the initial guidelines on Twitter Tuesday morning, saying that Stone had been treated unfairly.
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