Former federal prosecutors from Chicago in group asking Attorney General Barr to resign

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Sunday, February 16, 2020
Former federal prosecutors from Chicago in group asking US Attorney General William Barr to resign
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Former federal prosecutors call for US Attorney General William Barr's resignation in a letter Sunday morning.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In a stinging Sunday morning letter, more than 1,100 former federal prosecutors are now calling on Attorney General William Barr to resign, according to the group Protect Democracy. The ABC7 I-Team has identified at least seven of the names as former federal prosecutors from Illinois.

The group has previously been critical of the Attorney General and now says that the Attorney General has "flouted" the fundamental principal that "political interference in the conduct of a criminal prosecution is anathema to the Department's core mission and to its sacred obligation to ensure equal justice under the law."

Most of the the seven worked in the DOJ's Northern District of Illinois headquartered in Chicago. The group includes:

  • Sergio Acosta who was a prosecutor in the office for 18 years and chief of the general crimes section. He led the team that indicted former Chicago police commander Jon Burge in a notorious torture case. After leaving, from 1999-2001, Acosta was administrator of the Illinois Gaming Board. He is now in private practice in Chicago.
  • Matthew Crowl who was a prosecutor in the Chicago office beginning in 1992 and deputy chief prosecutor when he left in 2003. He later was a top attorney for Mayor Richard M. Daley. He is now in private practice in Chicago.
  • James Montana was an assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago from 1979 to 1983. He was later chief legal counsel to Illinois Governor Jim Edgar and chief judge of the Illinois court of claims.
  • Acosta, Crowl and Montana were either appointed by Republican presidents or served under Republican administrations. All of the former prosecutors say it is "outrageous" the way Barr interfered in the Roger Stone case.

    Read the full letter HERE:

    "President Trump and Attorney General Barr have openly and repeatedly flouted this fundamental principle, most recently in connection with the sentencing of President Trump's close associate, Roger Stone, who was convicted of serious crimes" the prosecutors write. "The Department has a long-standing practice in which political appointees set broad policies that line prosecutors apply to individual cases. That practice exists to animate the constitutional principles regarding the even-handed application of the law. Although there are times when political leadership appropriately weighs in on individual prosecutions, 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. It is even more outrageous for the Attorney General to intervene as he did here - after the President publicly condemned the sentencing recommendation that line prosecutors had already filed in court."