Judge in Roger Stone Sentencing Vindicates Attorney General Bill Barr's Decision to Intervene in the Case

Roger Stone accompanied by his wife Nydia Stone, left, arrives for his sentencing at U.S. District Court in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. Roger Stone, a staunch ally of President Donald Trump, faces sentencing Thursday on his convictions for witness tampering and lying to Congress. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

 

Last week, four Department of Justice prosecutors resigned from the prosecution of Roger Stone because of tightly wadded panties. The four prosecutors, Michael Marando, Adam Jed, Jonathan Kravis and Aaron Zelinsky, had filed a sentencing recommendation on Stone that demanded sending a 67-year-old first-time non-violent offender to prison between 7 and 9 years mostly for engaging the the Washington sport of lying to Congress (still waiting for the prosecution of Christine Blasey Ford and James Comey and James Clapper, among others).

READ Prosecutors Recommend a Huge Sentence for Roger Stone and Their Reason Is Garbage for details.

After the four crybabies left, a replacement sentencing recommendation was submitted to the court with scoring that would result in 37-46 in prison.

From the mewling and whinging from the left and from NeverTrump (to the extent that NeverTrump is not actually part of the left) one would have thought the world was about to end. An astro-turfed leftwing group cobbled together a letter that got the signatures of some 2,000 former Democrat partisans who were no longer working in the Department of Justice. READ Over 2,000 Former DOJ Officials Demand Bill Barr Resign — the Reason Why Is Simple for more background. But here are some key pieces of that risible catalog of nonsense:

…The Justice Manual — the DOJ’s rulebook for its lawyers — states that “the rule of law depends on the evenhanded administration of justice”; that the Department’s legal decisions “must be impartial and insulated from political influence”; and that the Department’s prosecutorial powers, in particular, must be “exercised free from partisan consideration.”

All DOJ lawyers are well-versed in these rules, regulations, and constitutional commands. They stand for the proposition that political interference in the conduct of a criminal prosecution is anathema to the Department’s core mission and to its sacred obligation to ensure equal justice under the law.

And yet, President Trump and Attorney General Barr have openly and repeatedly flouted this fundamental principle, most recently in connection with the sentencing of President Trump’s close associate, Roger Stone, who was convicted of serious crimes. The Department has a long-standing practice in which political appointees set broad policies that line prosecutors apply to individual cases. That practice exists to animate the constitutional principles regarding the even-handed application of the law. Although there are times when political leadership appropriately weighs in on individual prosecutions, it is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case. It is even more outrageous for the Attorney General to intervene as he did here — after the President publicly condemned the sentencing recommendation that line prosecutors had already filed in court.

Such behavior is a grave threat to the fair administration of justice. In this nation, we are all equal before the law. A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the President. Governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics; they are autocracies.

Now that the dust has settled, the final outcome indicates that Attorney General Bill Barr and Department of Justice Headquarters were not only correct to intervene but their actions were vindicated by the judge.

Things did not go easy on Roger Stone or Department of Justice at Stone’s sentencing today, see Roger Stone Sentenced to 40 Months After Judge Rakes the Department of Justice and President Trump Over the Coals for an account of that hearing. Judge Amy Berman Jackson grilled the federal prosecutor over the decision to repudiate the original sentencing recommendation. During questioning, the prosecutor seemed to even embrace some of the sentence enhancements in the original recommendation. At sentencing, she let Stone know that his misconduct was not trivial. And she sentenced him to 40 months.

That sentence in the lower half of the range recommended by Justice and well under 50% of the maximum sentence the Resistance Boys had tried to have imposed.

By her actions, Judge Berman Jackson showed that Attorney General Barr acted correctly. By implication, the action of the original prosecutors was vindictive and excessive. It violated the very principles they were sworn and directed to uphold because it is obvious that Stone’s prosecutors, who were mostly remnants of Robert Mueller’s team, tried to foist an abusive sentence off on the court in order to even scores. In the end, it was left to the Attorney General to prevent a miscarriage of justice and to block the efforts of a crew of conscienceless Resistance prosecutors to deprive a man of the remainder of his life for the sake of a few good stories to tell at the right cocktail parties.

streiff
Managing Editor at RedState
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