DOJ backtracks on jail sentence for Trump ally after Trump complains

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An official claims the decision was made before Trump called the nine-year sentencing guideline 'unfair.'

The Justice Department will no longer seek a nine-year prison sentence for Roger Stone, a longtime Donald Trump ally who was convicted of witness tampering and obstruction of justice in November.

The announcement comes less than one day after Trump tweeted that it was "unfair" of prosecutors to ask for such a long sentence.

"This is a horrible and very unfair situation," Trump tweeted at 1:48 a.m. EST on Tuesday, hours after Justice officials announced their initial sentencing recommendations against Stone.

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"The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!"

Fox News quoted an unnamed official on Tuesday who claimed that the decision to seek a lesser sentence for Stone was made before Trump's tweet.

"The Department was shocked to see the sentencing recommendation in the filing in the stone case last night," the unnamed official told Fox News. "The sentencing recommendation was not what had been briefed to the Department."

Stone was convicted in November on seven counts of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice, which was discovered as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's potential ties to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Justice officials had previously sought seven to nine years behind bars for Stone as punishment for those actions, stating that they "were not a one-off mistake in judgment. Nor were his false statements made in the heat of the moment. They were nowhere close to that."

"Stone’s conduct over the past two years shows the low regard in which he holds the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation and this very criminal case," they wrote.

Ultimately, Amy Berman Jackson, the judge overseeing the case, will determine Stone's sentence — no matter what the DOJ seeks.

Stone, for his part, posted a threatening image of Jackson during his trial, which featured a crosshair near her face. Stone later deleted the image and apologized, but nevertheless was hit with a gag order and barred from speaking publicly about his case.

Stone's sentencing is scheduled for later this month.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.