- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Andrew Weissmann, a top prosecutor under special counsel Robert Mueller, called out Attorney General William P. Barr on Wednesday over his handling of the case against Roger Stone.

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,” Mr. Weissmann wrote in an editorial for The Atlantic.

Barr strayed from the rule of law,” he wrote elsewhere in the op-ed.

Mr. Weissmann, who left the Justice Department after the special counsel’s investigation ended in 2019, was responding to Mr. Barr’s recent defense for overruling career prosecutors with respect to the proposed length of Stone’s prison sentence.

Stone, the president’s former campaign adviser and longtime friend, was found guilty last year jury of all seven counts he faced as a result of the special counsel’s investigation into the 2016 elections.

Government prosecutors who secured the conviction against Stone first asked that he serve between seven and nine years in prison as recommended under federal sentencing guidelines.

But shortly after Mr. Trump complained in February, the Justice Department walked back its original request and proposed that Stone receive “far less” time than originally asked.

All four of the prosecutors who signed the original sentencing recommendation subsequently quit the case, and Stone’s judge eventually ordered him to spend 40 months behind bars.

Mr. Trump ultimately commuted Stone’s sentence, however, effectively preventing him from spending a day in federal prison.

Testifying on Capitol Hill last week, Mr. Barr defended himself from criticism mounted by Democrats for involving himself cases tied closely to the president who appointed him.

“I agree the president’s friends don’t deserve special breaks, but they also don’t deserve to be treated more harshly than other people and sometimes that’s a difficult decision to make, especially when you know you’re going to be castigated for it,” Mr. Barr said at one point during the House Judiciary Committee hearing.

“Let me ask you,” Mr. Barr said another point. “Do you think it is fair for a 67-year-old man to be sent to prison for seven to nine years?”

Writing for The Atlantic, Mr. Weissmann argued Mr. Barr’s testimony showed the justice system works differently under the Trump administration depending on your relationship to the president.

“It means that if you are personally connected to the president or have information that could hurt the president, or both, you can be treated far more favorably by this attorney general, as he will bend the law and facts to the president’s desired result,” concluded Mr. Weissmann.

The Justice Department did not immediately return a message requesting comment.

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