In an extraordinary move, all four federal prosecutors who took the case against longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone to trial withdrew Tuesday after top Justice Department officials undercut them and disavowed the government’s recommended sentence against Stone.
The mass withdrawal of the career prosecutors on the case was a stunning response to the controversial and politically charged decision by Attorney General William Barr and other top Justice Department officials to reduce prosecutors’ recommended sentence of up to nine years, which came just hours after Trump publicly criticized it on Twitter.
The rapid-fire developments in the case – the prosecutors’ withdrawals came one by one through court filings over the course of two hours Tuesday afternoon – spilled tensions between Justice Department brass and the career prosecutors into the open, raising questions about the Justice Department’s independence from political pressure. In a new filing Tuesday, the US Attorney’s Office in Washington revised the sentencing recommendation to be “far less” than the seven-to-nine years recommended on Monday. It was not signed by any of the prosecutors who worked the case.
Ultimately, the presiding judge in the case will have the final say on Stone