A senior prosecutor on Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation says the justice system doesn’t have to be done with Roger Stone just because the president commuted his prison sentence.
Andrew Weissmann penned an opinion letter to The New York Times stating the Department of Justice can still put Stone before a grand jury in order to “vindicate the rule of law.”
Stone, a longtime ally of President Donald Trump, was sentenced to serve 40 months in prison for making false statements to investigators looking into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. Just days before he was set to report to jail, Trump issued a commutation of his sentence.
“Mr. Stone was sentenced to spend 40 months in prison until he got his reward for keeping his lips sealed,” Weissmann said of Trump’s commutation.
Just before Trump announced he would grant Stone clemency, Stone stated he had remained silent, Weissmann stated. Trump has repeatedly stated that Stone was part of an "illegal witch hunt."
“This does not have to be the end of the story,” he wrote.
Weissmann said that if Attorney General William Barr is really opposed to Trump’s decision, he could put Stone before a grand jury.
“Prosecutors are well armed to get to the bottom of what Mr. Stone knows but has refused to disclose,” he said. “If there was nothing nefarious about his coordination efforts, why did he lie about them to Congress? This question remains unanswered, as the Mueller report notes.”
He said prosecutors “can seek to discover the answer by calling Mr. Stone before a grand jury.”
Weissmann said Stone can be served with a grand jury subpoena by either a federal or state prosecutor or even with a congressional subpoena. Any option would force him to answer the question, “Why did you lie to Congress?” he said.
He said if subpoenaed, Stone would have three options. He could lie, which could land him in jail. He could refuse to comply, which could lead to him being held in contempt. Or he could testify and “simply tell the truth.”
Weissmann said if he lies or doesn’t comply, he could face “criminal liability — precisely the result that he has sought to avoid.”
“The tools to get at the truth are there and should be used,” he wrote. “If Mr. Barr does not support their use, we should all ask ourselves why not.”
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