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Watchdog seeks records on DOJ's Roger Stone sentencing reversal

Watchdog seeks records on DOJ's Roger Stone sentencing reversal
© Aaron Schwartz

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a government watchdog group, is requesting records from the Department of Justice (DOJ) after federal prosecutors recommended a sentencing reduction for former Trump campaign adviser Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneTrump grants clemency to five nonviolent offenders Trump remarks put pressure on Barr DOJ veteran says he's quitting over Barr's 'slavish obedience' to Trump MORE.

CREW filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on Tuesday seeking all records of communications between the DOJ and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, which is handling Stone's case.

Prosecutors initially recommended seven to nine years in prison, but the Justice Department later said in a court memo that it was calling for "far less" than the previous range. Four prosecutors who made the initial sentencing recommendations have since left the case.

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The developments come just hours after President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE tweeted on Tuesday morning that the first sentencing recommendation was “very unfair” and that such a “miscarriage of justice” should not be allowed. When asked in December if he would pardon Stone, Trump said he hadn't though about it but described him as a "good person."

Stone 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.

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In the sentencing recommendation, the government first wrote that seven to nine years in prison “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.

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

CREW has previously filed FOIA requests seeking information on Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Brazil's OECD candidacy is best chance for reform Watch live: Pompeo news conference MORE removing an NPR reporter from an overseas trip. The group has also asked a federal judge to force the White House to preserve all records of communications between Trump and foreign leaders.

Another D.C. watchdog group, Restore Public Trust (RPT), also filed a FOIA request to the DOJ requesting documents related to Stone’s case and called for a congressional investigation into the move by DOJ. 

Rep. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerMarijuana stocks see boost after Harris debate comments Jewish lawmakers targeted by anti-Semitic tweets ahead of election: ADL Democrats shoot down talk of expanding Supreme Court MORE (D-N.Y.), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, denounced the DOJ’s decision, adding that  “Committee will get to the bottom of this.”