, the prosecutor who withdrew from Trump ally , is testifying Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee on political interference at the Justice Department. Zelinsky, who was a key deputy of former special counsel Robert Mueller, in February after the Justice Department moved to recommend a lighter prison sentence than the prosecutors had sought.
Zelinsky, an assistant U.S. attorney at the Justice Department since 2014, will tell the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that in his tenure as a federal prosecutor, he had “never seen political influence play any role in prosecutorial decision making — with one exception: United States v. Roger Stone,” according to a copy of his opening statement disclosed by the panel.
How to watch Zelinsky testify before House Judiciary Committee today
What: Ex-Roger Stone prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky testifies before House Judiciary Committee
Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Online stream: Live in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device
“What I saw was the Department of Justice exerting significant pressure on the line prosecutors in the case to obscure the correct Sentencing Guidelines calculation to which Roger Stone was subject – and to water down and in some cases outright distort the events that transpired in his trial and the criminal conduct that gave rise to his conviction,” Zelinsky will tell the Democrat-led committee.
He will also reveal to lawmakers that he repeatedly heard Stone was “being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the president.”
According to a copy of his opening remarks, Zelinsky intends to tell the Judiciary Committee that he was informed that the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Timothy Shea, “was receiving heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice to cut Stone a break, and that the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing instructions to us were based on political considerations.”
“I was also told that the acting U.S. attorney was giving Stone such unprecedentedly favorable treatment because he was ‘afraid of the president,'” Zelinsky will say. “That explanation was deeply unsettling.”
In opening remarks at the start of the hearing, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York, said Barr’s actions as attorney general “make clear that in his Department of Justice, the presidents’ allies get special treatment.”
“The sickness that we must address is Mr. Barr’s use of the Department of Justice as a weapon to serve the president’s petty, private interests,” Nadler said. “The cancer that we must root out is his decision to place the president’s interests above those of the American people.”
Justice Department Antitrust Division prosecutor John Elias, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer are also testifying before the committee.