The American Bar Association came to the defense of the rule of law on Wednesday by condemning President Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr for interfering with the sentencing of Roger Stone.
All four federal prosecutors who were working on the Stone case resigned from it in protest earlier this week after Trump and Barr intervened to halt their sentencing recommendation of 7 to 9 years in jail for crimes including obstruction, witness tampering and lying to investigators.
A jury convicted Stone on all seven counts against him based on strong evidence presented by the prosecution, and Judge Amy Berman Jackson had been set to hand down a sentence this month.
But Trump and Barr came to Stone’s rescue at the 11th hour in an unprecedented move that totally undermines the rule of law and turns the Department of Justice into a politicized weapon Trump will use to his benefit.
Legal experts have already condemned their actions, but now the American Bar Association is getting involved by denouncing it and calling for lawmakers and members of the legal profession to fight back.
“The American Bar Association steadfastly supports judicial independence and the sound exercise of prosecutorial discretion,” ABA President Judy Perry Martinez said in a statement. “Public officials who personally attack judges or prosecutors can create a perception that the system is serving a political or other purpose rather than the fair administration of justice. It is incumbent upon public officials and members of the legal profession, whose sworn duty it is to uphold the law, to do everything in their power to preserve the integrity of the justice system.”
The Attorney General is not supposed to be the president’s personal lapdog. Upholding justice requires independence. But Trump violated that independence by attacking the sentence recommendation, and rather than stand up for the attorneys who work under him, Barr threw these federal prosecutors under the bus and betrayed the rule of law to make Trump happy. It’s outrageous, and makes it all the more important that Americans vote in November.
In addition, former and current federal prosecutors should start pursuing political offices across the country, especially on the national level. Our country clearly needs politicians who respect the rule of law and will defend it to their dying breath. Because all Trump and Barr are doing is strangling it openly in broad daylight as Senate Republicans watch.
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