Three career Department of Justice prosecutors abruptly resigned their posts on Tuesday, in an apparent dramatic protest just hours after senior leaders at the DOJ said they would take the extraordinary step of effectively overruling the prosecutors' judgment by seeking a lesser sentence for President Trump's former adviser Roger Stone.
Fox News reported earlier Tuesday that top brass at the DOJ were "shocked" that prosecutors handling the case had recommended Monday night that Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentence the 67-year-old Stone to between 87 and 108 months in prison. The prosecutors asserted in the Monday filing that Stone's conduct post-indictment -- including violating the judge's social media gag orders -- merited a sentence much longer than the 15-to-21 months that the defense said was actually advisable under the federal sentencing guidelines.
In a new filing Tuesday afternoon, the DOJ told Jackson that the government "respectfully submits that a sentence of incarceration far less than 87 to 108 months’ imprisonment would be reasonable under the circumstances," but that the government "ultimately defers to the Court as to the specific sentence to be imposed."
A senior DOJ official confirmed to Fox News that senior leadership officials there made the call to reverse the sentencing recommendation, saying the Monday evening filing was substantially inconsistent with how the prosecutors had briefed DOJ leadership they would proceed on the case.
In response, Assistant US Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Washington D.C. Jonathan Kravis, resigned as an assistant U.S. attorney in a filing with Jackson. Another posecutor, Aaron Zelinsky, also filed a notice with the court that he was leaving his position as a special prosecutor with the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, although he would remain as an assistant U.S. attorney in Baltimore. Then, prosecutor Adam Jed withdrew from the Stone case as well. None of the prosecutors gave an explicit rationale for the resignations.
Stone has been convicted on seven counts of obstruction, witness tampering, and making false statements to Congress on charges that stemmed from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Prosecutors charged that Stone lied to Congress about his conversations about WikiLeaks with New York radio host Randy Credico, although Stone was never actually linked to any criminal conspiracy to access or leak documents.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Trump said he stayed out of internal DOJ deliberations, but strongly opposed their initial sentencing recommendation. "I stay out of things to a degree that people wouldn't believe," Trump said.
He added that the initial recommendation was "ridiculous" and called it "an insult to our country." Read more at FOX News