Bill Barr Discovers Sentencing Reform, But Only For Roger Stone
Bill Barr isn't even trying to hide the corruption any more. Yesterday his own US attorney for the District of Columbia recommended 87-108 months (seven to nine years) of jail time for Roger Stone, a sentence squarely within the recommended sentencing guidelines, and now Barr is forcing those prosecutors to walk it back in the face of a Trump tweet.
In a 26-page sentencing memo detailing the seven counts for which Stone was convicted by a jury of his peers, his threats of violence to a witness, and his multiple attempts to tamper with the jury using social media during the trial, federal prosecutors made their case to Judge Amy Berman Jackson that Stone deserves substantial jail time. But according to Fox News, higher-ups at the DOJ were "shocked" to see Stone going to prison for simply lying to federal investigators and Congress and threatening a witness in a federal case. It's not like he committed dastardly EMAIL CRIMES!
"The Department finds seven to nine years extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate to Mr. Stone's offenses," a DOJ source told Fox, adding that, "The sentencing recommendation was not what had been briefed to the Department."
DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec insisted that the decision to revise Stone's sentencing recommendation was made before Trump's tweet, and no one at the Justice Department had discussed it with the White House. And if you believe either of the last two sentences in this blog post, then you haven't been paying attention for the past three years.
This is, after all, the second time in a month that the Justice Department has had a change of heart and gone back to the court to revise down its sentencing recommendation for one of Trump's buddies. Just two weeks ago, DC prosecutors decided that perhaps Trump's former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn didn't deserve jail time either. And it seems like only yesterday that we found out Bill Barr had set up a DOJ hotline for Rudy Giuliani to deliver his Biden Ukraine smears directly to the FBI.
Because it was just yesterday! Also yesterday, Bill Barr stood up before a roomful of sheriffs and promised to scrutinize charging decisions of state prosecutors, over whom he has exactly zero authority, to make sure they weren't undercharging undocumented immigrants to avoid sticking them with a deportable charge. But his apparent concern over letting lawbreakers off with light sentences does not extend to white guys who have dirt on the president and might be tempted to share it. People who might be tempted to defray their legal costs by authoring a tell-all book are entitled to just mercy.
A kinder, gentler sentencing memo is expected imminently. The corruption continues apace. VOTE BLUE, NO MATTER WHO.
UPDATE: Longtime DOJ prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky, who worked the Roger Stone case under Robert Mueller, withdraws from it effective immediately. Apparently Barr's interference has already caused internal protests. Zelinsky is still employed at the Justice Department's branch office in Baltimore.
And FURTHER UPDATE, category, BITCH PLEASE:
We will undoubtedly revise and extend our remarks tomorrow.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.