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Mason’s Laurie Robinson among those opposing actions by U.S. attorney general

February 21, 2020

A George Mason University professor was among the many former Department of Justice employees who recently signed a letter urging the resignation of Attorney General William P. Barr following his handling of the case of President Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone.

Laurie Robinson, the Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Criminology, Law and Society and a former U.S. assistant attorney general, is among the roughly 2,500 mostly career DOJ employees who joined in the public rebuke. Trump had assailed the prison sentence of seven to nine years originally suggested by prosecutors following Stone’s conviction of lying to Congress and obstruction. Barr cast aside the original sentence recommendation for a more lenient one.

The letter called political interference in the conduct of a criminal prosecution an “anathema to the Department’s core mission and to its sacred obligation to ensure equal justice under the law.” 

Laurie O. Robinson, Robinson Professor, Criminology, Law and Society, Robinson Professors. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University

“The Department of Justice has a unique role in our country—for our democracy—because the citizens of this country need to feel that justice is going to be given out in a fair and equal way,” Robinson said. “To have the leader of the country—the president—interfering is something we need to call attention to and need to oppose.” Robinson served as assistant attorney general in the Clinton and Obama administrations. While noting Barr’s recent acknowledgement that the department has to be independent of politics, she and her fellow former colleagues were adamant that moves to intervene on Stone’s behalf threaten the credibility and integrity of the DOJ.

“A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the president,” they wrote. “Governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics; they are autocracies.”

Robinson said that it spoke volumes that so many from across the political spectrum felt strongly about the issue.

“It’s not about Republicans or Democrats,” she said. “This is really talking about what the Department of Justice is all about.”

Laurie Robinson can be reached at 703-993-2162 or at lrobin17@gmu.edu.

For more information, contact John Hollis at 703-993-8781 or jhollis2@gmu.edu.

About George Mason 

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 38,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility.