The US Department of Justice was, according to Fox News citing anonymous officials, "shocked" by the sentence recommendation for Trump ally and veteran political consultant Roger Stone issued by federal prosecutors. According to Fox, citing the unnamed officials, the requested punishment was not what had been earlier represented to government officials.
"The Department finds seven to nine years extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate. The sentencing recommendation was not what had been briefed to the Department", one anonymous source said, according to Fox.
The DoJ will file its own recommendations for Stone's sentence later on 11 February, according to a source cited by AP. It is unclear, however, how much prison time Trump's DoJ will seek for Stone.
The news about prosecutors asking 7-9 years for Stone was harshly criticised by US President Donald Trump on Twitter, with the president tweeting that the sentence was a "miscarriage of justice".
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2020
By Tuesday evening, all four prosecutors - Michael Marando, Aaron Zelinsky, Johnathan Kravis and Adam Jed - had resigned from Stone's case. As the resignations rolled in one by one, social media users began dubbing the event the "Tuesday Night Massacre."
NBC News: All four prosecutors have now asked the judge to leave the Roger Stone case.— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) February 11, 2020
Michael Marando joins Aaron Zelinsky, Jonathan Kravis, and Adam Jed in leaving the case after the Justice Department publicly rebuked the their recommended sentence of 7-9 years.
Stone, who earlier worked on Trump's 2016 election campaign and was questioned as part of the so-called Russia probe, was found guilty on 15 November of witness tampering, lying to Congress and obstructing a US House investigation. None of the charges, however, have helped investigators prove accusations against Trump and his team of allegedly conspiring with Russia to rig the 2016 US presidential election.