Trump Reversing Stone Sentencing Recommendation Would Be 'Abuse Of Power,' Schiff Says


President Trump said Tuesday that federal prosecutors' recommended prison sentence of up to nine years for longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone is "very unfair". A source told Fox that the sentence recommendation was "extreme, excessive, and grossly disproportionate" to Stone's crimes.

Stone is due to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington on February 20. His age, health, and status as a first-time offender convicted of a non-violent crime don't warrant a prison sentence, he said in a court filing Monday.

Stone was charged in January 2019 by the grand jury in Washington, D.C., which special advocate Robert Mueller hired to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 elections and related matters.

After the department's action was disclosed, federal prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky, who helped prosecute Stone and worked on the Mueller investigation, told a federal court he is withdrawing from the case.

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"This is a frightful and very unfair situation", Trump tweeted just after 1 a.m. ET Tuesday morning.

It is highly unusual for the DOJ to undo a sentencing recommendation once it's been produced by prosecutors at a U.S. Attorney's office which has prosecuted a suspect.

"Roger Stone obstructed Congress' investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, lied under oath and tampered with a witness", prosecutors said in the filing. "The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them", Trump tweeted Tuesday.

Stone and his camp sought to serve as intermediaries between Trump's campaign and WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election, though Stone said he did nothing wrong.

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Stone has denied wrongdoing and constantly criticized the case towards him as politically motivated.

The official also said that the decision to change the recommendation came before Trump's tweet.

Witnesses in the case testified that Trump's campaign viewed Stone as an "access point" to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks, which was in possession of more than 19,000 emails hacked from the servers of the Democratic National Committee and tried to use him to get advance word about hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton.

Stone was also accused of tampering with Credico's testimony when Credico was summoned to testify before Congress and speak with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Presiding Judge Amy Berman Jackson isn't bound by the recommendations from either side.

Prosecutors also said Stone threatened Mr Credico's therapy dog, saying he was "going to take that dog away from you".

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