Memo to defense attorneys everywhere: You’ve got a friend in Attorney General Bill Barr.
The tough-on-crime face the guy puts on is just an act. In reality, Barr is on your side. In fact, it was on his orders that the Justice Department last week advanced a remarkably pro-defendant position in the prosecution of Roger Stone—a position just waiting for countless defense lawyers around the country to try to exploit in their own cases.
To be sure, Barr seems to only care about such matters when the defendant is—like Roger Stone—a friend of the president and a person indicted in the Mueller investigation. But Barr’s Justice Department in the Stone case did not walk into court and announce that it has one set of standards for Trump associates in cases about which the president comments serially and a completely different set of standards for all other cases. Rather, the Justice Department articulated certain principles—principles that the defense bar now gets to cite in all cases.
A close examination shows those principles to be pretty expansive. Let’s take a look.