Prosecutor withdraws from Roger Stone case (4 so far)

Source: The Hill | February 11, 2020 | John Kruzel

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of Justice (DOJ) prosecutor who asked a judge to sentence Roger Stone to between seven to nine years in prison has withdrawn from the former Trump aide’s case after reports that officials would seek to reduce the sentencing recommendation.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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    The Justice Department’s retreat from a recommendation for a lengthy prison term for President Donald Trump’s longtime adviser Roger Stone appears to have triggered one federal prosecutor to exit the case and another to quit the government altogether.

    Jonathan Kravis, the deputy chief of the fraud and public corruption section in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, said in a court filing Tuesday that he has resigned his post. The move came a short time after a former prosecutor for special counsel Robert Mueller, Aaron Zelinsky, notified the court that he was leaving his special assignment on the Stone case.

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