Former Mueller Prosecutor Withdraws from Roger Stone Case After DOJ Intervention

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Longtime President Donald Trump associate Roger Stone could be headed to jail for up to nine years after federal prosecutors in Washington D.C. recommended that Stone serve seven to nine years in prison after he was convicted of false statements and witness tampering charges related to the Russian Federation investigation last year. Another Justice Department source told Fox News that "the sentencing recommendation was not what had been briefed to the Department" - their claim suggesting the prosecutor might have misrepresented the sentence he planned to recommend. The recommendation was higher than what the US attorney's office had told Justice Department officials it would suggest, according to the official. Stone is due to face sentencing by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson on February 20, after a jury in November found the self-proclaimed "dirty trickster" guilty on seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering. It is unclear, however, how much prison time Trump's DoJ will seek for Stone.

The official says there had been no contact with the White House over the decision, though Trump tweeted early Tuesday calling it "a very frightful and unfair situation" after the recommendation was made in a court filing Monday evening. On Monday, the Mueller prosecutors who tried Stone's case shocked legal experts by recommending that Stone be imprisoned for seven to nine years for non-violent offenses.

Now Aaron Zelinsky, who worked in Robert Mueller's office, is withdrawing from the Stone case.

The official says there had been no contact with the White House over the decision, though President Donald Trump tweeted early Tuesday calling it "a very frightful and unfair situation" after the recommendation was made in a court filing Monday evening.

The back and forth over the recommendation for Stone's sentence follows a post on Twitter by Trump on Tuesday that faulted the recommended sentence. Prosecutors called the sentence consistent with federal sentencing guidelines.

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Besides, judges invariably frown upon crimes that they see as perverting the functions of the criminal justice system, such as making false statements or obstructing an investigation.

"In the end, the investigations yielded no evidence of the involvement of any American with the Russian government or any agent operating on its behalf to interfere in the 2016 election. Stone's but I am grateful that he chose to speak on my family's behalf, and for many people that may not agree with him politically, because he believes in our cause", Webster writes.

In a court filing on Monday, prosecutors said that Trump's 2016 campaign chief Steve Bannon "viewed Stone as the Trump campaign's access point to WikiLeaks".

During the 2016 campaign, Stone had mentioned in interviews and public appearances that he was in contact with Assange through a trusted intermediary and hinted at inside knowledge of WikiLeaks' plans. Credico additionally testified throughout Stone's trial that Stone repeatedly advised him to "do a 'Frank Pentangeli, '" a reference to a personality in "The Godfather: Half II" who lies earlier than Congress.

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

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