Yesterday the Meteor published a story about Roger Stone being sentenced to 40 months in prison.
Below, Rachel Maddow breaks down Justice Department prosecutor John D. Crabb’s declarations to Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Roger Stone sentencing hearing. Essentially Crabb says pay not attention to the man behind the curtain, yeah, I signed the second recommendation because (I’m not admitting it) I was forced to, but the Court should do the right thing.
Reading from the transcript Maddow quotes back and forth the conversation in front of the bench between United States Prosecutor Crabb and Judge Jackson. Crabb disavowing the sentence reduction that United States Attorney General William Barr attempted to impose on the case.
First, the transcript and the video of Maddow reading the transcript followed by her commentary followed by the text from the transcript of the conversation between Judge Jackson and Prosecutor Crabb.
From the transcript
THE COURT (Judge Amy Berman Jackson): Okay. All right. Thank you.
So, now the guideline has been calculated. But, as I said at the beginning, that’s just the starting point. The parties have put their views in writing, but now is the time that they also get to speak. Would the government like an opportunity to speak regarding the appropriate sentence in this case?
Mr. Crabb, I’m happy to hear from you. And as I understand it, you’re representing United States of America in the case of the United States of America versus Roger Stone.
I fear that you know less about the case, saw less of the testimony and the exhibits than just about every other person in this courtroom, with the possible exception of the defense attorney who just joined the team.
So, before we get to your allocution, is there anything you would like to say about why you’re the one standing here today?
MR. CRABB (Unites States Prosecutor John D. Crabb): Your Honor, I have four points that I would like to briefly address, which I think will incorporate that. May I do that?
THE COURT: All right.
MR. CRABB: Thank you. First, Your Honor, I want to apologize to the Court for the confusion that the government has caused with respect to this sentencing and the difficulties surrounding that. I want to make clear to the Court that this confusion was not caused by the original trial team. The original trial team had authorization at the U.S. Attorney’s Office to file this sentencing memorandum that they submitted to the Court Monday before last.
THE COURT: Let me just follow up on that. So they — the trial team wrote it?
MR. CRABB: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: But someone higher up than them had to approve it?
MR. CRABB: Correct, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Does that include you?
MR. CRABB: I was part of the process, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right. Did it go all the way to the U.S. Attorney?
MR. CRABB: Yes, the U.S. Attorney reviewed it, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Did he approve it?
MR. CRABB: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: And did the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia then have to get approval from Main Justice before it was filed?
MR. CRABB: I don’t know the exact requirements. I know that there was consultation between the United States Attorney’s Office and Main Justice.
THE COURT: Did they receive the approval from Main Justice before they filed it?
MR. CRABB: No, Your Honor. My understanding is based on what the Attorney General has stated, is there was a miscommunication between the Attorney General and the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia as to the authorization and the expectations that the Attorney General had.
THE COURT: But, it was approved by everyone whose name was on it, including the U.S. Attorney?
MR. CRABB: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Well, did your office have to wait for Main Justice to get back to you before you could file it?
MR. CRABB: I’m not sure if I understand the Court’s question. What I understand is that there was a miscommunication before it was filed between the Attorney General and the United States Attorney as to what the expectations were from the Attorney General and what the appropriate filing would be.
THE COURT: Well, can you elaborate? Do you have any personal knowledge about what the nature of that miscommunication was?
MR. CRABB: No, Your Honor, I don’t.
THE COURT: You’re not suggesting now that anything that was in the first filing about the nature of the offenses or the calculation of the guidelines or the evidence in the case was incorrect, are you?
MR. CRABB: I’m not, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right. Continue with what you were about to tell me.
MR. CRABB: Thank you, Your Honor. The second point I would like to briefly address is I want to state, and I would like to emphasize this, that the original sentencing memorandum filed by the trial team was done in good faith.
Sentencing is not an exact science. Reasonableminds can differ as to what an appropriate sentence may be. But, as the Court has alluded to earlier in this proceeding, it is generally the policy of the United States Department of Justice to request guideline sentences. And there was nothing in bad faith about what was done by the original trial team here.
THE COURT: Well, it’s not just a question of whether it was good faith. It was fully consistent with current DOJ policy; isn’t that true?
MR. CRABB: Yes, Your Honor. If I may add one point to that. As I’ve said, it’s consistent with the Department of Justice policy to request a sentence within the guidelines. But, it’s also the Department of Justice policy, as set together in the Justice Manual, that there should be a particularized review of any case applying the law to the facts and circumstances of any defendant’s case before —
THE COURT: The current policy of this Department of Justice is to charge and prosecute the most serious offense available in order to get the highest level guideline; is that correct?
MR. CRABB: That’s the general policy, Your Honor. If I —
THE COURT: And I’ve been told by assistants standing before me that they aren’t even allowed to recommend or agreeto a sentence below the guideline range without supervisory approval in your office; is that correct?
MR. CRABB: That’s true, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right. Continue.
MR. CRABB: Thank you, Your Honor. The third point I would like to briefly address, Your Honor, is the Department of Justice and United States Attorney’s Office is committed to enforcing the law without fear, favor, or political influence. This prosecution was and this prosecution is righteous. The defendant was found guilty by a jury of his peers of committing serious crimes: Obstructing justice, lying to Congress, and witness tampering.We believe that based on those crimes of conviction, the Court should impose a substantial period of incarceration.
THE COURT: All right. Now, with respect to the second filing, your name is on it and you’re the one that signed it, physically signed it. So does that mean that you wrote it?
MR. CRABB: Your Honor, I’m not at liberty to discuss the internal deliberations and how materials are prepared within the United States Attorney’s Office or the Department of Justice. But, the Court’s right, I signed that document and submitted it.
THE COURT: Well, were you directed to write it by someone else?
MR. CRABB: Your Honor, I apologize. I cannot engage in those discussions of internal deliberations.
THE COURT: All right. Is there anything else you want to tell me about why I should impose a substantial period of incarceration in this case?
MR. CRABB: Nothing more than to reiterate that this is a righteous prosecution and the offenses of conviction are serious and has been set forth in more detail in the original sentencing memorandum as to the nature and circumstances of the offense, which, as the Court has pointed out to me, the Court knows better than I do.
THE COURT: All right. Well, are you making a recommendation as to what the sentences should be? Other offices, I think, that’s standard operating procedure, to not make a recommendation and just defer to the Court. But, the usual U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia’s practice is to stand here and advocate for a particular outcome.So, are you not planning to do that today?
MR. CRABB: Your Honor, that brings me to the last and final point I wanted to make for the Court.May I address that now?
THE COURT: Yes.
MR. CRABB: Your Honor, the last point I would like to make is that under the unique facts and circumstancespresented in this matter, it is particularly appropriate for the government to defer to the Court with respect to what the specific sentence would be in this case.
We understand that, as happens in all sentencings that are adjudicated in this courthouse, that the Court will consider the entire record in this matter, that the Court will consider the guidelines and the appropriate sentencing factors, and that the Court will consider the submissions of the parties, which the Court has already referred to, and the submission of the probation office.
And, most importantly, the Court will rely on its own sound judgment and experience.
To add to that, Your Honor, given this Court’s unique experience with related cases before this Court, and this Court’s record of thoughtful analysis and fair sentences imposed in those cases, the government has the utmost confidence that we defer to the Court, and we have confidence that the Court will impose a just and fair sentence in this matter.
THE COURT: All right. Thank you.
MR. CRABB: Thank you, Your Honor.