DOJ set to lower Stone sentencing recommendation that was criticized by Trump

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday is reportedly expected to change its sentencing recommendation for Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneHouse Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak Trump 'strongly considering' full pardon for Flynn We're talking past one another: A lesson Democrats must understand MORE a day after telling a federal judge the Trump associate should serve between seven and nine years in prison, guidance that was sharply criticized by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump orders US troops back to active duty for coronavirus response Trump asserts power to decide info inspector general for stimulus gives Congress Fighting a virus with the wrong tools MORE.

Department officials found prosecutors’ initial recommendation “excessive,” according to multiple news outlets, including The Washington Post, Fox News and The Associated Press, citing an anonymous department source.

Reports of the expected change came after Trump denounced the recommended prison term as “horrible and very unfair” in an early Tuesday morning Tweet.  

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“The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!” Trump said, sharing a message from a Daily Caller reporter about Stone’s prison sentence.

Stone, a 67 year-old right-wing provocateur, was convicted in November of seven counts of obstructing and lying to Congress and witness tampering related to his efforts to provide the Trump campaign inside information about WikiLeaks in 2016.

Stone is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 20 by D.C. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee.

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Prosecutors recommended in a Monday filing that Stone serve between 87 and 108 months in prison in accordance with federal guidelines.

“Roger Stone obstructed Congress’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, lied under oath, and tampered with a witness,” the DOJ court filing reads. “And when his crimes were revealed by the indictment in this case, he displayed contempt for this Court and the rule of law.”

Department prosecutors wrote that a sentence of up to nine years would “accurately reflect the seriousness of his crimes and promote respect for the law.”

Stone’s attorneys in a Monday night filing asked that the judge impose probation as an alternative to prison.

A Stone lawyer on Tuesday said the legal team had “read with interest” the new reporting on the DOJ’s shifting position.

“Our sentencing memo stated our position on the recommendation made yesterday by the government,” attorney Grant Smith told The Hill. “We look forward to reviewing the government’s supplemental filing.”

The department will reportedly clarify its recommendation on Stone’s sentencing later Tuesday.

--Updated at 1:13 p.m.