The judge presiding over Roger Stone’s case agreed with senior Justice Department leadership on Thursday that the original sentence proposal for the GOP operative was excessive -- amid a clash inside the DOJ over his sentencing.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who sentenced Stone to 40 months in federal prison on Thursday, said the original sentence proposed last week by federal prosecutors of 87 to 108 months was steep given the charges.
She said the recommendation was "greater than necessary," while also saying the defense's recommendation of probation was "simply not sufficient."
Jackson called the 40-month sentence delivered Thursday “substantial” for the charges of obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress on charges that stemmed from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Stone was not charged with any underlying crime of coordinating with Russia during the election though Mueller's team investigated Stone over tweets claiming to be in touch with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Last week, after prosecutors made their sentence recommendation, senior Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Bill Barr, intervened, overruling and scaling back the proposed prison sentence.
Barr’s intervention led to all four members of Stone’s prosecution quitting the case.
The mass withdrawal caused Democrats to accuse President Trump of interfering in the process, with many even calling for Barr’s resignation. The intervention also prompted thousands of former Justice Department officials to sign an online petition calling for Barr’s resignation.
On Thursday, prosecutors maintained that a “significant period of incarceration” was in order for Stone.