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DOJ Backs Off Sentencing Recommendation For GOP Operative Roger Stone

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The Department of Justice is backing off its sentencing recommendation for longtime President Donald Trump ally Roger Stone.

The move comes just hours after the president took to Twitter to blast prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office for their suggested seven to nine years behind bars.

"This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!" the president tweeted.

According to a senior Justice Department official, the DOJ leadership did not know about the recommendation.

"This is not what was briefed to the department," the official told CBS News. "The department believes the recommendation is extreme and excessive and is grossly disproportionate to Stone's offenses."

Click here to read the original sentencing memorandum.

A revised, shorter sentencing memorandum will be sent to the court.

All four prosecutors in the case have resigned or withdrawn in response to a controversial decision from the Justice Department.

David Weinstein, who served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida for more than a decade, said this backtracking is "not normal at all."

"You're given a fair amount of autonomy with your cases and your supervisors don't have to read everything you write," he said. "But that's what these prosecutors felt was appropriate."

Weinstein said when he looked at the sentencing, he felt seven to nine years was a bit much. He said he felt a five-year sentence was more appropriate.

WATCH: Attorney David Weinstein Shares Insight On Developments In Roger Stone's Case


Still, Weinstein said the pleading released Tuesday was more along the lines of something a defense team would write. The reason, Weinstein said, is because they cited cases for the judge to impose a sentence outside of the guidelines.

"That's not something the Department of Justice normally writes," he said. "This is just bizarre to me and completely out of the ordinary."

Weinstein added that it certainly seems that the president's tweet directed the Department of Justice to look at something they hadn't been involved with.

Stone was convicted on seven charges related to Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

He's scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 20.

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