Regulation

Prosecutor who quit DOJ over handling of Roger Stone blasts Flynn dismissal

A career prosecutor who resigned from the Department of Justice (DOJ) over its handling of President Trump’s longtime ally Roger Stone broke his silence Monday to denounce the DOJ’s recent move to drop charges against former Trump adviser Michael Flynn.

Jonathan Kravis was a member of the four-person prosecution team that withdrew from Stone’s case earlier this year after top DOJ officials overruled career prosecutors to seek a lighter sentence against Stone. Kravis took the extraordinary step of quitting the department entirely.

On Monday he commented publicly for the first time about his decision to leave the DOJ, highlighting what he sees as an alarming trend of the department putting “political patronage ahead of its commitment to the rule of law.”

“I feel compelled to write because I believe that the department’s handling of these matters is profoundly misguided, because my colleagues who still serve the department are duty-bound to remain silent and because I am convinced that the department’s conduct in the Stone and Flynn cases will do lasting damage to the institution,” Kravis wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

Kravis and the other prosecutors who secured Stone’s conviction for lying to Congress and witness tampering recommended in February that Stone be sentenced to between seven and nine years in prison. But after top department officials intervened to ask the judge to impose a sentence that was “far less,” the prosecution team withdrew, a move that was widely assumed to have been done in protest.

Kravis, in his op-ed, removed all doubt about his motivation for leaving — and for breaking his silence.

“At the time, I thought that the handling of the Stone case, with senior officials intervening to recommend a lower sentence for a longtime ally of President Trump, was a disastrous mistake that the department would not make again,” he wrote. “I was wrong.”

The former prosecutor went on to blast the DOJ’s decision to drop the case against Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, despite Flynn having pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents. Former federal prosecutors broadly criticized the decision and administration critics saw the move as yet more evidence of the DOJ’s politicization under Attorney General William Barr.

Kravis called the development in Flynn’s case “an equally appalling chapter” to the handling of Stone’s case that prompted his departure.

The cases quickly drew comparisons, particularly after career prosecutor Brandon Van Grack, who had helped secure Flynn’s plea agreement, abruptly withdrew from the case, without explanation, less than an hour before DOJ moved to drop the charges. He reportedly also withdrew from other cases, but has not resigned.

Kravis said he was speaking out in part because rank-and-file prosecutors cannot.

“The dedicated public servants who remain cannot respond publicly to those who claim that the department acted appropriately in these cases. But I can, and I say this,” Kravis wrote. “If the department truly acted because of good-faith commitments to legal positions, then where is the evidence of those commitments in other cases that do not involve friends of the president?”

Tags Donald Trump Roger Stone William Barr

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