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Justice Department to lower sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone

Posted at 10:20 AM, Feb 11, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Justice Department official tells the Associated Press that the agency is backing away from its sentencing recommendation for Trump confidant Roger Stone.

The move comes one day after federal prosecutors in Washington asked a judge to sentence Stone to seven to nine years in prison.

The official says there had been no contact with the White House over the decision, though President Donald Trump tweeted early Tuesday calling it "a very horrible and unfair situation" after the recommendation was made in a court filing Monday evening.

Stone was convicted in November of a seven-count indictment that accused him of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election.

A department official told The New York Times that both the sentencing recommendation and the president’s tweet took officials at Justice Department headquarters by surprise. The recommendation was higher than what the U.S. attorney’s office had told Justice Department officials it would suggest, according to the official.