Roger Stone Ex-prosecutor Jonathan Kravis Has History of Rogue Sentencing Recommendations

Former campaign advisor to US President Donald Trump, Roger Stone, arrives at US District Court in Washington, DC on February 21, 2019. - Stone arrived for a hearing on his instagram posts of Judge Amy Berman Jackson. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Former Department of Justice prosecutor Jonathan Kravis, one of four prosecutors who withdrew from the Roger Stone case last month after President Donald Trump criticized their recommended sentence, appears to have a history of asking for long sentences in politically controversial cases.

Kravis, who not only left the case but also left government altogether, joined his team in recommending a seven- to nine-year sentence for Stone, a first offender.

As Breitbart News reported: “Stone was convicted in November on seven criminal counts, including making false statements to Congress regarding his communications with WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election, tampering with witness Randy Credico, and obstructing the House investigation into the president’s now-debunked coordination with Russia.”

But the lengthy sentence drew criticism — including from President Trump himself.

Attorney General William Barr intervened, and Stone was ultimately sentenced to 40 months. Barr said that Trump had not influenced his decision, and took the unusual step of criticizing the president’s tweets on ABC News.

Jury foreperson Tomeka Hart then outed herself in a Facebook post defending the prosecutors. That, in turn, revealed her own history as a Democratic Party politician, and her intense bias against Trump. Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, who has specialized in appeals by defendants against convictions in similar cases, said that Stone deserved a new trial.

Kravis and his fellow prosecutors nonetheless remained heroes in the eyes of much of the mainstream media.

In 2016, Kravis was involved in the prosecution of Herbert Vederman, the former deputy mayor of Philadelphia, who was convicted of bribing former Congressman Chaka Fattah, who was also convicted.

Vederman was sentenced to 24 months in prison — four times the maximum sentence provided in the federal guidelines, which is six months.

Vederman’s conviction was overturned in 2019. He was set to face a new trial, but decided to strike a plea deal for one year in prison instead. However, the judge threw out the deal and sentenced Vederman to two years anyway, after prosecutors recommended a sentence of at least 24 months.

Vederman has petitioned for commutation of his sentence, telling the Office of the Pardon Attorney, “Mr. Kravis’s record should be investigated, and my sentence should be commuted.”

In his petition, Vederman also noted that Kravis had to be reined in by his superiors, both in his own case and in Stone’s.

“We all know what happened in Roger Stone’s case—Department of Justice leadership withdrew Mr. Kravis’s sentencing recommendation,” Vederman wrote to the attorney supervising pardon applications at the Department of Justice.

“In my case, Mr. Kravis sought a 400% upward variance from the high end of the Guidelines range. This was four times the highest sentence ever imposed on someone like me since the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Guidelines. Department of Justice leadership reined him in then, too.”

Kravis also prosecuted three former campaign staffers for Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) for crimes involved in an effort to entice an Iowa politician to switch his endorsement to Paul from presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) in the 2012 Republican primary.

Several of the charges were dismissed by a federal judge “because they were based on information the government obtained during F.B.I. interviews last year that the judge said was not admissible,” the New York Times reported. (The three were later convicted in another trial.)

It is not clear bias played a role in the Stone prosecution. But the media rush to defend the prosecutors and to impugn Barr’s motives ignored the question of possible bias entirely.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

This post has been updated to include a quote from Vederman’s petition application.

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