Timothy Shea Signs Off on Aggressive Sentencing Recommendation for Roger Stone

Update: As Fox first reported and WaPo has written up, the highers up at DOJ have now announced they’re going to change the sentencing guidelines submitted last night. This means they’re arguing that Stone should not have the guidelines sentence submitted by the Probation Office.

I’ll have more to say about the government’s sentencing memorandum for Roger Stone once Stone submits his. But I want to emphasize something notable about the recommended sentence of 87-108 months: it’s that prosecutors recommended a sentence at all.

Up until now, the government has placed sentencing, within guideline ranges, into the judge’s hands, as laid out explicitly in the second Paul Manafort sentencing memo.

Consistent with the practice the Special Counsel’s Office has followed, the government does not take a position with respect to a particular sentence to be imposed. Instead, the government sets forth its assessment of the nature of the offenses and offender and the applicable advisory sentencing guidelines and sentencing factors.

As recently as January 29, they took a similar stance with Mike Flynn, repeating “guidelines sentence” when they wanted Judge Emmet Sullivan to sentence him favorably, “guidelines sentence” when they wanted to punish him for reneging on his plea deal, and “guidelines sentence” when they backed off that somewhat.

Prosecutors were far more aggressive with Stone, though, adding on four sentencing enhancements — one hefty, for the threat to Randy Credico, who wrote a letter asking for leniency —  and calling for real punishment at the end.

Roger Stone obstructed Congress’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, lied under oath, and tampered with a witness. And when his crimes were revealed by the indictment in this case, he displayed contempt for this Court and the rule of law. For that, he should be punished in accord with the advisory Guidelines.

Just as interestingly, the newly appointed US Attorney approved this aggressive stance, though not without some pushback.

Front-line prosecutors, some previously with Mueller’s team, argued for a sentence on the higher end for Stone than some of their supervisors were comfortable with, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

A recommendation on the higher end prevailed, with prosecutors’ filings citing federal sentencing guidelines that ratchet up in cases involving obstruction that impedes the administration of justice.


Hours before the filing was due Monday, the new head of the D.C. office, interim U.S. attorney Timothy Shea — a former close adviser to Attorney General William P. Barr — had not made a final decision on Stone’s sentencing recommendation, according to the people, who were granted anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Disagreements among prosecutors about sentencing recommendations are not uncommon, especially when it comes to politically sensitive high-profile cases. It would have been unusual, however, for the U.S. attorney’s office to endorse a sentence below the guideline range after winning conviction at trial, according to former federal prosecutors.

I think WaPo understates how aggressive this memo is, and I suspect Judge Amy Berman Jackson will find it so too (I wouldn’t be surprised if Stone pushed for probation to 12 months).

And, as WaPo notes, it’s the Mueller prosecutors left on the team (just Aaron Zelinsky and Adam Jed remain on the team) who pushed for this aggressive stance.


38 replies
  1. Eureka says:

    [Nevermind me, I’m just lost in comparing what Stone was found guilty of criminally and what Trump has done wrt congressional investigations.

    The obstruction of congress alone… heads rolling off pikes … ]

      • Eureka says:

        But (also) seriously, that’s the best-placed use of that line I’ve seen.

        Wither his ego, else — Wither the US?

          • Eureka says:

            Yes! But meanwhile, his impulses are getting immortalized, institutionalized — by the craven “they” who are only too happy to let him do it, tell him he can do it, suggest that just maybe he “should” do it, write and speechify anti-constitutional screeds for him and all in his image to do it… like so many ‘tittering’ Billy Bushes who go on to facilitate access to the next potential victim.

            The unitary executive. **gag**vomit**

            Creepertons from Bannon and Miller to the Fed Soc-ers and (some) foreign govs are in a dreamtime haze: with Trump as a POTUS, they can transform American individualism from a mildly sociopathic ideal to a full narcissistic bloom.

            Sociopathy can work for some people; the vagaries of narcissism lend to chaos.

  2. Yogarhythms says:

    “As recently as January 29, they took a similar stance with Mike Flynn, repeating “guidelines sentence” when they wanted Judge Emmet Sullivan to sentence him favorably”. That was prior to Senate vote to acquit executive. When pardons are in the air looking tough on sentencing is gold plated.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m not prognosticating!

      Well, maybe I’m suggesting that ABJ will find this somewhat over the top. I stand by that, though.

      • Manqueman says:

        Ditto. My understanding is a judge has a lot of discretion and what anyone suggests is, well, suggestive but not binding. I would risk assuming that ABJ’s lived with all this crap long enough that she needs a sentencing report, special from one that’s been Barred (pun!) like a hole in the head. But time will tell.

  3. Tyler says:

    There is no way the court accepts an 8 level enhancement for threatening Credico with physical harm. That by itself adds 50 months to the low end. I just don’t see it, especially given that Credico testified and wrote a letter stating he didn’t feel threatened.

    The memo does do an excellent job of laying out the narrative though. Was Corsi ever actually in contact with Assange or was he all bluster too?

  4. Eureka says:

    The President of the United States has weighed in (148am Eastern):

    Donald J. Trump: “This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice! [quoting Chuck Ross tweet below]”


    Chuck Ross: “Prosecutors recommend up to NINE YEARS in prison for Roger Stone. They call foreign election interference a “deadly adversary” even though Stone was never accused of working with Russians or WikiLeaks. [links to dailycaller]”

    Immediately prior in the timeline, POTUS retweets Ross:

    Chuck Ross: “Prosecutors disregard gov’t witness Randy Credico’s plea for no jail time for Stone on the grounds that he didn’t take Stone’s threats seriously. “It is the threat itself, not the likelihood of carrying out the threat, that triggers the enhancement.” [quotes the same Ross tweet that that POTUS quotes/pasted immediately above]”

    • Eureka says:

      …with another rt of Ross before that one:

      “A *9 year* prison recommendation for non-violent crimes committed by a 67-year-old man. [dailycaller]”

      [He’s got the “TOUGH GUYS FOR TRUMP!” tweet* pinned btw, which is why Larry David was (is) trending and apparently signals, with other content, a GOP trend towards using characters +/- memes beloved by the left “against them” by ruining them/sowing argument and chaos (cf. that Pompeo tweet with Lisa Simpson meme last week). Whole ‘nother topic… but seriously out of a dictator’s playbook, an escalation in the cooption of symbols.]

      Adding: some of these characters/shows are beloved by *everyone* regardless of side, that’s part of the point.

      * https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1227040292060180481

      • harpie says:

        At 6:53 PM · Feb 10, 2020 Chuck tweeted the same phrase, 67 year old as Stone’s sentencing memo, which MMineiro tweeted at 11:27 PM · Feb 10, 2020. [I don’t know when the memo was actually first posted. Will see if I can find out.]

        11:27 PM · Feb 10, 2020

        Roger Stone has filed his sentencing memo after DOJ proposed 7-9 years in prison. His lawyers included a breakdown of other Mueller indicted Trump associates’ sentences & ask for 15-21 months for the “67-year-old first time offender convicted of serious but non-violent crimes.” [ss]

          • bmaz says:

            Why in the world would you “shake your head” at that?

            Do you think that there are not serious crimes that are, in fact, not violent? Seriously?

            There are real problems with Chuck Ross’s ignorance and idiocy, but that particular phrase is not one of them.

            • klynn says:

              I’m shaking my head from a bigger picture perspective.

              The charges that he has been found guilty are technically non-violent. The disinformation pot Stone stirs is not non-violent. Plus, I’m a bit take back that his threats against Kunstler are missing. They were real.

              • bmaz says:

                They are NOT “technically non-violent”. That is baloney. They are simply, and legally, non-violent. That is a fact.

                We try to be accurate here as opposed to emotional baloney.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Not considered a legally violent crime in the manner of Lizzie Borden.

          You might be thinking, though, that corruption at the highest levels causes more grievous bodily harm across the country and world than almost any other crime. You’d be right.

          • klynn says:

            Yes. My perspective is not one of emotion, it is one of the larger picture of the impact of Stone’s actives on nation-state concerns and national security concerns. Such corruption leads to violence and/or triggers a cycle of violence.

            My regrets for not sticking to the case and the charges specifically.

            • bmaz says:

              No. It is still complete and utter bullshit. Violent crime versus non-violent crime means something in the law. Blithely conflating them is a straight up lie and dishonest. Please do not do that here.

  5. bmaz says:

    By the way, it is Dick Cheney shoots friend in the face with a shotgun day. Thought you all would want to know.

  6. harpie says:

    Marcy just responded to this, from 11:40 ET, saying:
    Not like Trump influenced this or anything.

    8:40 AM – 11 Feb 2020

    The DOJ is changing its sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, according to a Senior DOJ official.
    “The Department finds seven to nine years extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate,” the source said, adding the DOJ will clarify its position on sentencing later today


    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Heads on pikes.

      What El Caudillo’s DoJ meant to recommend was seven to nine months home confinement, in the White House, helping Trump do it all again.

  7. Philip Webster says:

    Barr-Stone-DOJ: WTF ? Trump’s scourge frightens; Barr says what color and how much?

    He’s lov’d of the distracted multitude, Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes, And where ’tis so, th’ offender’s scourge is weigh’d, But never the offense.

    Feels like we are on a Chappell “Getting Real” bit.

    What will Amy do?

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