Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
On Monday, a federal sentencing memo on veteran GOP operative Roger Stone recommended a prison sentence of seven to nine years. But President Donald Trump has been angrily tweeting his objections, and now, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) appears to be walking back that recommendation.
A DOJ source told Fox News, “The Department finds seven to nine years extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate to Mr. Stone’s offenses.” In November, Stone was convicted on seven federal courts, including witness tampering and lying to Congress.
On Twitter, legal experts and pundits have been weighing in on the new, more lenient sentencing recommendations for Stone.
Scott Hechinger lamented that “millions” of criminal defendants in the U.S. are not “provided with the same care” and “individualized justice Roger Stone will receive.” And attorney Bradley P. Moss posted, “I do not envy the DOJ lawyers who are going to have to convince the judge that political pressure was not applied to suddenly backtrack on their sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone.”
Susan Hennessey had one word in response to the DOJ revising its sentencing guidelines on Stone: “whoa.”
Steve Vladeck was appalled, tweeting, “A U.S. Attorney who actually believed in the rule of law and/or any modicum of prosecutorial independence would resign in protest.” And Rep. Don Beyer was equally biting when he posted, “Bill Barr’s naked corruption is getting worse by the day, and it’s going to do lasting damage.”
Erick Fernandez was also quite critical of Barr. “There can be reasonable discussions to be had about whether sentencing filing against Roger Stone was too harsh,” Fernandez wrote. “The fact that this is happening after Trump angrily rants at 1:30am on Twitter is not a coincidence, though. Bill Barr is a GOP operative.”
Cristian Farias didn’t try to hide his disgust, posting, “The Justice Department is rotten to the core. I’m all for more leniency and mercy for all. But when those things are only available to someone who’s white, well-connected, and with a long history of kissing up to power, it shows how corrupted the whole thing is.”