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Federal judges association holding emergency meeting over DOJ interference in Stone case

Catherine Garcia

The Federal Judges Association will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss concerns members have over President Trump and top Justice Department officials intervening in the case of longtime Trump friend and adviser Roger Stone.

The association has more than 1,000 members, and says it supports a "fair, impartial, and independent judiciary." The group's president, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe, told USA Today that members decided they "could not wait" until the organization's spring conference to address the matter. "There are plenty of issues that we are concerned about," added Rufe, a George W. Bush appointee. "We'll talk all of this through."

Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress and witness tampering, and last week, Trump complained about federal prosecutors recommending Stone receive a sentence of seven to nine years. Attorney General William Barr and other DOJ leaders quickly reversed course on the recommendation, which resulted in the four Stone prosecutors quitting the case. On Friday, it was reported that Barr has also appointed an outside prosecutor to review the criminal case of Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, but has since backtracked, claiming he was coerced.

Since an open letter was released on Sunday night, more than 2,000 former Justice Department officials have signed on, calling on Barr to resign. The letter says it is "unheard of for the department's top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the president, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case."

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