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Ex-Roger Stone Prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky Says DOJ Was Under ‘Heavy Pressure’ to Spare Trump’s Friend

Ex-Roger Stone Prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky Says DOJ Was Under ‘Heavy Pressure’ to Spare Trump’s Friend

One of the prosecutors who quit the Roger Stone case in disgust over interference from Attorney General Bill Barr will tell the House Judiciary Committee that the “highest levels of the Department” wanted to spare Stone, a friend of the president’s, years of prison time

“What I heard—repeatedly—was that Roger Stone was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the President,” according to a statement from Aaron Zelinsky, one of ex-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors. 

In February, Zelinsky and three colleagues resigned from the Stone prosecution after Timothy Shea, then the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, recommended a substantially shorter prison term than the seven to nine years Zelinsky recommended. Stone was convicted of lying to Congress about his interactions with WikiLeaks during the 2016 election, witness tampering and obstructing a congressional inquiry. Shea was a former senior aide to Barr who now runs the Drug Enforcement Administration

 Zelinsky’s statement calls out Shea by name as “receiving heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice to cut Stone a break, and that the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing instructions to us were based on political considerations.” He called the department’s pursuit of a sentence shorter than its own sentencing guidelines “unheard of” for an “unrepentant” defendant like Stone, who threatened the judge presiding over his case. The judge, Amy Berman Jackson, sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison

“I was also told that the acting U.S. Attorney was giving Stone such unprecedentedly favorable treatment because he was ‘afraid of the President,’” Zelinsky said of Shea.



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