The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General has launched an investigation into Roger Stone's sentencing recommendation, two people familiar with the matter told NBC News.
Stone, a longtime friend and adviser of President Trump, was convicted last year of witness tampering and lying to investigators. Prosecutors working on the case said they were told to push for a lighter sentence than the seven to nine years they were considering, and this is what the watchdog is looking into, NBC News reports. Before the sentencing, Attorney General William Barr intervened, and Stone was ultimately sentenced to 40 months in prison. In July, Trump commuted his sentence.
In response to Barr's intervention, all four of the Stone prosecutors quit, including Aaron Zelinsky, who testified before Congress in June. He said he was told by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to endorse a lighter sentence for Stone, due to his relationship with Trump. One person with knowledge of the matter told NBC News Zelinsky's testimony is what prompted the Inspector General's Office to start the investigation.