All four prosecutors who tried Roger Stone, a longtime confidant to President Donald Trump, have resigned from the case after the Justice Department considered reducing its recommended sentence of Stone of seven to nine years.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Zelinsky submitted his letter of resignation to a judge on Tuesday and will leave Washington, DC, to return to his prior job with the U.S. Attorney in Maryland. Zelinsky was a part of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Another prosecutor in the case, Jonathan Kravis, resigned from the case and his job as an assistant U.S. attorney. In a notice sent to the judge, Kravis stated he “no longer represents the government in this matter.”
A third prosecutor on the case, Special Assistant to the United States Attorney Adam Jed, also resigned from the case Tuesday evening in a formal withdrawal letter. Prosecutor Michael Marando also reportedly resigned.
On Monday, U.S. prosecutors asked Judge Amy Berman Jackson to sentence Stone to between seven and nine years in jail for lying to Congress and witness tampering. In November, Stone was found guilty on charges related to his efforts to spare the president embarrassment over the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
According to prosecutors, a sentence between seven and nine years for Stone would “send the message that tampering with a witness, obstructing justice, and lying in the context of a congressional investigation on matters of critical national importance are not crimes to be taken lightly.”
An official for the Justice Department spoke with Fox News and said the department was “shocked” at the request from prosecutors.
“The Department was shocked to see the sentencing recommendation in the filing in the Stone case last night,” the DOJ official told Fox News. “The sentencing recommendation was not what had been briefed to the Department.”
The unnamed source added, “The Department finds seven to nine years extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate to Mr. Stone’s offenses.”
Trump criticized the recommendation from prosecutors early Tuesday morning:
This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice! https://t.co/rHPfYX6Vbv
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2020
“This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!” Trump wrote.
Stone is scheduled to be sentenced on February 20, 2020.