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Prosecutors quit amid escalating Justice Dept. fight over Roger Stone?s prison term

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Roger Stone
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Timothy Shea
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The New York Times
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Two career prosecutors who handled the case against Roger Stone, a confidant of President Trump, resigned their posts Tuesday after the Justice Department signaled it planned to reduce their sentencing recommendation for the president’s friend, and a third asked to withdraw from the legal proceedings.Jonathan Kravis, one of the prosecutors, wrote in a court filing he had resigned as an assistant U.S. attorney, leaving government entirely. Mueller III’s team, said he was quitting his special assignment to the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute Stone, though a spokeswoman said he will remain an assistant U.S. attorney in Baltimore.Adam Jed, also a former member of Mueller’s team, asked a judge’s permission to leave the case like the others, though gave no indication of resigning his job.None provided a reason for their decisions.The departures come just hours after a senior Justice Department official told reporters that the agency’s leadership had been “shocked” by the seven-to-nine-year penalty prosecutors asked a judge to impose on Stone and intended to ask for a lesser penalty.“That recommendation is not what had been briefed to the department,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive case. “The department finds the recommendation extreme and excessive and disproportionate to Stone’s offenses.”Later Tuesday, the department filed an updated sentencing recommendation that contradicted the reasoning laid out by line prosecutors and asserting the initial guidance “could be considered excessive and unwarranted under the circumstances.” The memorandum was signed by interim D.C. U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea and his criminal division supervisor, John Crabb Jr.None of the four career attorneys who signed the first memo affixed their names to the second.“Ultimately, the government defers to the Court as to what specific sentence is appropriate under the facts and circumstances of this case,” Shea and Crabb wrote.Roger Stone deserves 7 to 9 years prison for lying to Congress in Russia probe, U.S. says in sentencing recommendation for Trump confidantThrough a spokeswoman, Zelinsky declined to comment. The new filing also contended that the enhancements endorsed in the previous government filing were not in keeping with the sentences generally doled out to nonviolent offenders.Tuesday’s filing suggested — but does not outright recommend — that a sentence of three to four years would be reasonable, and “more in line with the typical sentences imposed in obstruction cases.”Prosecutors in another case brought by the special counsel’s office, against Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, also recently walked back a sentencing recommendation — though the move was subtle.In early January, prosecutors recommended that Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., be sentenced “within the Guidelines range” of zero to six months in prison.

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