Prosecutor in Roger Stone Case to Testify Sentencing Was Politicized: ‘Being Treated Differently… Because of His Relationship’ to POTUS
A top prosecutor in the Roger Stone case is set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee that Roger Stone was treated differently by the Department of Justice because of his relationship with President Donald Trump.
Aaron Zelinsky, who worked in Robert Mueller’s office, withdrew from the Stone case — along with the other prosecutors involved in the case — after reports came out that the DOJ was planning to roll back the “extreme” sentencing recommendation in Stone’s case.
Zelinsky’s opening statement came out Tuesday afternoon and in it he says, “In the many cases I have been privileged to work on in my career, I have never seen political influence play any role in prosecutorial decision making. With one exception: United States v. Roger Stone.”
He accuses the DOJ of handling in the case in an “unusual and unprecedented way” and says the Department tried to “water down and in some cases outright distort the events that transpired in his trial and the criminal conduct that gave rise to his conviction.”
Zelinsky directly claims in his testimony that Stone’s relationship to President Trump was a factor in how his sentence was handled:
“What I heard – repeatedly – was that Roger Stone was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the President. I was told that the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Timothy Shea, was receiving heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice to cut Stone a break, and that the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing instructions to us were based on political considerations. I was also told that the acting U.S. Attorney was giving Stone such unprecedentedly favorable treatment because he was ‘afraid of the President.'”
He says he raised concerns that went on unheeded, so he decided to step down “rather than be associated with the Department of Justice’s actions at sentencing.”
You can read the full opening testimony here.
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