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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 StoneFeds charge members of Three Percenters militia group over Jan. 6 attack Biden's anti-corruption memo is good news — and essential to US national security Legal intrigue swirls over ex-Trump exec Weisselberg: Five key points 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 TrumpEx-DOJ official Rosenstein says he was not aware of subpoena targeting Democrats: report Ex-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' 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 PompeoMike PompeoSunday shows preview: Biden foreign policy in focus as Dem tensions boil up back home Sunday shows preview: Infrastructure expected to dominate as talks continue to drag The triumph and tragedy of 1989: Why Tiananmen still matters 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 NadlerIowa man sentenced for threatening Rep. Jerry Nadler Supreme Court confounding its partisan critics Garland sparks anger with willingness to side with Trump 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.”