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Wed Aug 5, 2020, 02:58 PM

America's Prosecutors Know What Bill Barr Did Was Wrong

What is the American public to make of Attorney General Bill Barr’s congressional testimony defending his actions in the Trump ally Roger Stone’s case? During Barr’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee last week, Barr claimed the mantle of fairness and compassion, arguing that the career prosecutors were out of line in seeking a nine-year sentence for this first-time offender, who is a nonviolent criminal and 67 years old. Back in February, Barr had withdrawn the submission of career professionals for a seven-to-nine-year sentence and instead sought a sentence of at most three to four years. Two weeks later, a district judge sentenced Stone to 40 months of jail time, which Barr testified was a vindication in full.

Sound reasonable? Not in the slightest. As every experienced federal prosecutor would immediately understand, Barr’s position violates Department of Justice lawyers’ training, their obligations to the court, their duty under the U.S. sentencing guidelines, and the equal application of the law to all. I know—I was a federal prosecutor for two decades and a senior member of the special counsel’s office under Robert Mueller. Barr’s testimony amounted to an argument that the ends justified the means; it was fine to submit the revised sentencing recommendation so long as a court ultimately selected a sentence within that range.

To understand just how far Barr strayed from the rule of law, it is important to understand how federal sentencing should work—and does work in cases other than those of the president’s friends.

The parties start by considering the defendant’s crimes. A jury had found Stone guilty of five counts of lying to Congress, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of tampering with a witness by threatening him to change his testimony. Also relevant to sentencing, while on bail, Stone had posted a picture online depicting crosshairs next to the head of the federal judge presiding over his case and then was found to have lied about doing so at a bail hearing.


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Reply America's Prosecutors Know What Bill Barr Did Was Wrong (Original post)
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Aug 5 OP
The Velveteen Ocelot Aug 5 #1

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