Justice Department watchdog looking into Roger Stone sentencing changes

  • Justice Department watchdog looking into Roger Stone sentencing changes

Justice Department watchdog looking into Roger Stone sentencing changes

Stone's sentence was commuted by President Trump, his longtime associate, in July.

The Justice Department has launched a probe into Roger Stone's sentencing after a prosecutor claimed his office came under "heavy pressure form the highest levels of the department" to ease the Trump ally's jail term.

"We welcome the review", Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said.

The IG initially took interest in the case after the four prosecutors on it resigned in protest of Attorney General William Barr's intervention.

Barr has pointed to that sentence as vindicating his move to overrule the career prosecutors.

In February, Stone was sentenced to three years in prison, after being convicted in November 2019 on seven counts of obstruction, witness tampering, and making false statements to Congress on charges that stemmed from Mueller's investigation.

In June, Aaron Zelinsky, one of the prosecutors, testified to Congress that the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Timothy Shea told him to recommend a lighter sentence for Stone because of his friendship with President Donald Trump.

"Roger Stone was being treated differently from every other defendant".

Stone did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the news.

The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility began an inquiry into what transpired around the time of Stone's sentencing, including whether there were leaks to the media, according to two sources familiar with the matter. One person with knowledge of the matter told NBC News Zelinsky's testimony is what prompted the Inspector General's Office to start the investigation.

Giving evidence to the House Judiciary Committee on July 28, Attorney General Bill Barr said that Stone's age made a long sentence unfair because he had not committed a violent crime. But the recent involvement of the department's inspector general carries additional weight because the inspector general is independent, required to report to Congress and must publicly post findings of misconduct.

Thieves are stealing checks from USPS boxes.