09:13 GMT25 May 2020
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    Following a day of political turmoil over federal prosecutors' suggested sentence for former Donald Trump 2016 election campaign adviser Roger Stone of seven to nine years in prison, the Department of Justice issued an updated memo saying that such a sentence "could be considered excessive and unwarranted."

    "The prior filing submitted by the United States on February 10, 2020 does not accurately reflect the Department of Justice's position on what would be a reasonable sentence in this matter," the supplemental and amended sentencing memorandum issued Tuesday night reads. "While it remains the position of the United States that a sentence of incarceration is warranted here, the government respectfully submits that the range of 87 to 108 months presented as the applicable advisory guidelines range would not be appropriate or serve the interests of justice in this case."

    "The defendant committed serious offenses and deserves a sentence of incarceration that is 'sufficient, but not greater than necessary' to satisfy the factors set for in Section 3553(a)," the memo, filed by US Attorney Timothy J. Shea, continues. "Ultimately, the government defers to the court as to what specific sentence is appropriate under the facts and circumstances of this case."

    Stone was found guilty in November 2019 of five counts of giving false testimony to Congress and one count each of obstruction of justice and witness tampering. The charges stem from testimony he gave to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 2017, all of which concerned his alleged communications with WikiLeaks seeking information about when the hacked Democratic National Committee emails would be released to the public. That communication was done exclusively through an intermediary, believed to be comedian Randy Credico, who also testified before Congress.

    Trump was widely accused of intervening on Stone's behalf on Tuesday following statements of shock from DoJ insiders, prompting him Tuesday afternoon to issue a statement that while he had not done so, he would be within his rights if he did. On Twitter, he blasted the sentencing memo, calling it a "miscarriage of justice."

    Amid the dispute, all four federal prosecutors withdrew from Stone's case on Tuesday, giving little explanation as the event was dubbed the "Tuesday Night Massacre" on social media.


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    WikiLeaks, sentencing, US Department of Justice, Donald Trump, Roger Stone
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