A federal prosecutor who resigned over the Justice Department’s decision to recommend a lesser prison sentence for Roger Stone is blasting the department for its decision to drop the prosecution for Michael Flynn.
“I thought that the handling of the Stone case, with senior officials intervening to recommend a lower sentence for a longtime ally of President Trump, was a disastrous mistake that the department would not make again. I was wrong,” former prosecutor Jonathan Kravis wrote in an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Monday.
He continued, “I feel compelled to write because I believe that the department’s handling of these matters is profoundly misguided, because my colleagues who still serve the department are duty-bound to remain silent and because I am convinced that the department’s conduct in the Stone and Flynn cases will do lasting damage to the institution.”
Kravis first blasted the Justice Department’s decision to recommend a shorter sentence for Stone and explained his decision to resign, “I resigned because I was not willing to serve a department that would so easily abdicate its responsibility to dispense impartial justice.”
He noted that Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to investigators, “Nevertheless, after public criticism of the prosecution by the president, the department moved to dismiss Flynn’s case, claiming that new evidence showed that the plea had no basis.”
Kravis also slammed Attorney General William Barr for interviews where he “disparaged the work of prosecutors and agents” who were in charge of the cases against Stone and Flynn.
“As the attorney general knows, those career prosecutors and agents cannot respond. The department prohibits employees from talking to the media about criminal cases without high-level approval,” Kravis wrote.
He added, “Barr’s decision to excuse himself from these obligations and attack his own silenced employees is alarming. It sends an unmistakable message to prosecutors and agents — if the president demands, we will throw you under the bus.”
He also suggested that the lack of similar action in regards to other cases proves that the department’s actions in regards to the Stone and Flynn cases are political.
“If the department truly acted because of good-faith commitments to legal positions, then where is the evidence of those commitments in other cases that do not involve friends of the president? Where are the narcotics cases in which the department has filed a sentencing memorandum overruling career prosecutors? Where are the other false-statements cases dismissed after a guilty plea? There are none. Is that because the only cases in the United States that warranted intervention by department leadership happened to involve friends of the president? Of course not.”
The team of prosecutors on the case originally recommended that Stone serve seven to nine years in prison. But, the Justice Department filed a motion that called the original sentencing recommendation “excessive and unwarranted” and sought a shorter sentence.
That decision led the team of prosecutors, including Kravis, to resign from the Justice Department in protest.
Stone was sentenced in February to three years and four months in prison for lying to Congress, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering.
On May 7, the Justice Department filed a motion in court to drop its prosecution of Flynn. In the motion, the department said, “The Government has determined, pursuant to the Principles of Federal Prosecution and based on an extensive review and careful consideration of the circumstances, that continued prosecution of this case would not serve the interests of justice.”