Top Roger Stone prosecutor slams Barr for influencing cases against Trump allies
Posted May 11, 2020 12:02 p.m. EDT
CNN — The top prosecutor of Roger Stone -- who quit the Justice Department when his superiors overruled his team's work on the case before Stone's sentencing -- slammed Attorney General William Barr for influencing cases against President Donald Trump's friends and accused him of undermining the integrity of the department, in a Washington Post op-ed published Monday.
Jonathan Kravis and the other federal prosecutors who quit the Stone case had not spoken publicly about it, and the op-ed breaks Kravis' silence on why he left and how he thought Barr had handled the case.
It adds to a growing backlash against Barr's moves in the cases from top former officials; a day earlier, former Justice Department national security chief Mary McCord also condemned Barr in a New York Times op-ed.
"In both cases, the department undercut the work of career employees to protect an ally of the president, an abdication of the commitment to equal justice under the law," Kravis wrote. "Prosecutors must make decisions based on facts and law, not on the defendant's political connections. When the department takes steps that it would never take in any other case to protect an ally of the president, it betrays this principle."
He added that other prosecutors who worked on the cases are still employed by DOJ and "duty-bound to remain silent."
"I am convinced that the department's conduct in the Stone and Flynn cases will do lasting damage to the institution," he added.
Stone was convicted at trial of seven counts of obstruction, lying to Congress and witness tampering and received a sentence of 40 months in prison. He is appealing.
Prosecutors had initially asked Stone to be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison, but Barr subsequently said that was too long.
Kravis discusses his decision to resign three months ago from Stone's case, saying he left a job "I loved because I believed the department had abandoned its responsibility to do justice in one of my cases, United States v. Roger Stone."
"At the time, 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," he writes.
Late last month, Kravis told CNN that his protest resignation from the Justice Department was "the most painful professional experience" of his career but he refused to say much else about the Stone case and his departure. Instead, Kravis explained that his new job as a public corruption specialist working for the state-level attorney general of Washington, DC, will largely focus on building out the city's ability to pursue criminal cases against public officials, campaign finance investigations and other local issues. That could potentially include Trump.
The opinion piece comes days after the Justice Department decided it was dropping the criminal case against Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, whose lies about his contacts with Russia prompted Trump to fire him three years ago and special counsel Robert Mueller to flip him to cooperate in the Russia investigation.