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Four Jewish things about Aaron Zelinsky, Roger Stone prosecutor who resigned

Aaron Zelinsky, a synagogue board member and former clerk for the Israel Supreme Court, resigned from the case against former Trump ally Roger Stone on Tuesday, apparently in protest against the Department of Justice intervening in their recommendations for Stone’s sentencing.

Stone was indicted by the team of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and convicted in November of making false statements, obstruction and witness tampering. He was set to be sentenced next week, but President Trump threw a wrench in the works on Tuesday when he tweeted that the prosecutors’ recommendation of up to nine years in prison was a “miscarriage of justice.”

Zelinsky works for the United States Attorney’s Office in Baltimore and was on special assignment for the Stone case. A spokesperson for that office told CNN that Zelinsky had not resigned from the Attorney’s Office entirely.

  1. His Polish grandfather covertly helped the U.S. investigate Nazis

Zelinsky kept on his desk a letter from the U.S. Army for his grandfather Jacob Dronksi, a Pole who helped the American military investigate Nazis during and after World War II. An army captain praised Dronski for his service as a special investigator and recommended him for American citizenship, according to the New Haven Independent,

  1. He clerked for the Supreme Court of Israel

Zelinsky, a Connecticut native and graduate of Yale Law School, clerked for both the Supreme Court of Israel despite his minimal Hebrew and United States Supreme Court, assigned to the liberal John Paul Stevens and the moderate Anthony Kennedy.

  1. He’s a lay leader in his Jewish community

Zelinsky is on the board of his Conservative synagogue in Baltimore, Beth Am. He co-chairs the Continuing Education committee.

  1. He sees Purim as more than a party

In 2013, Zelinsky wrote an op-ed for HuffPost comparing President’s Day with the Jewish holiday of Purim, noting the times that American presidents have cited the story of Esther saving the Jews from annihilation at the hands of the evil royal adviser Haman.

“Our early presidents realized that evil wasn’t a thing of the past, relegated to myth and history,” he wrote. “They understood that Hamans appear throughout the ages and in their days, and that it was — and always will be — the task of free peoples to oppose Hamans at every turn.”

Zelinsky began working at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Baltimore in 2014, where he reported to Rod Rosenstein — who would go on to serve as Deputy Attorney General overseeing the Mueller investigation. Mueller would go on to hire Zelinsky.

Correction: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article stated in one case that Aaron Zelinsky is the president of his synagogue. In fact, he is a member of the board but is not its president.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor of the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink


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