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Top Mueller Prosecutor Resigns from DOJ Amid Roger Stone Sentencing Turmoil

JJ

Feb. 12, 2020

Special assistant U.S. attorney Aaron Zelinsky, who handled several of the most prominent cases in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, resigned Tuesday amid turmoil surrounding a prison sentence recommendation for Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump.
Zelinsky filed a notice withdrawing from the case with Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who oversaw Stone’s trial.
The filing also says that Zelinsky “resigned effective immediately” as a special assistant U.S. attorney.
Hours before the resignation, a senior Justice Department official told reporters that the agency plans to revise federal prosecutors’ recommendation that Stone serve up to nine years in prison on false statements and witness tampering charges.
Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., recommended that Stone serve between 87 and 108 months in prison on the charges.
Trump blasted the recommendation in a series of tweets early Tuesday morning and indicated that he was considering a pardon for Stone.
He called the recommendation “disgraceful,” and said that he “cannot allow this miscarriage of justice.”
A Justice Department official issued a surprising rebuke of the D.C. attorney’s offices’ recommendation, calling it “extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate.”
The official also said that the recommendation was “not what had been briefed to the Department.”
The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment about Zelinsky’s withdrawal and resignation.
Zelinsky worked on several components of the sprawling special counsel’s probe.
He was involved in the prosecution of former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos .
In the Stone probe, Zelinsky interviewed and investigated Randy Credico and Jerome Corsi , two Stone associates who prosecutors suspected may have been a link between Stone and WikiLeaks.
Witnesses and attorneys who dealt with Zelinsky described him to The Daily Caller News Foundation as among the most aggressive prosecutors they dealt with on the special counsel’s team.
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