The president has called Stone’s treatment a miscarriage of justice, raising questions about whether he will grant clemency to his longtime political confidant.
Roger Stone was sentenced Thursday to just more than three years in prison, a decision that raises immediate questions about whether President Donald Trump will pardon his longtime political confidant for what the president has decried as a miscarriage of justice.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down Stone’s 40-month sentence in a packed Washington, D.C., courtroom after spending more than two hours ticking through the twisted history of his case, which culminated last November with the GOP operative’s jury conviction on seven felony counts including lying to authorities, obstructing a congressional investigation and witness intimidation.
“The problem is nothing about this case was a joke,” Jackson said moments before sentencing Stone. “It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t a stunt and it wasn’t a prank.”
Stone, who passed on a chance to address the courtroom, stood silently with his attorneys for nearly 45 minutes while the judge explained the reasoning behind her sentence. The punishment, she said, grew in large part from the severity of his attempts to stymie the Russia probe, violations of a gag order limiting his speech during the pre-trial proceedings and for making a threat to the judge through social media.
“He was not prosecuted for standing up for the president,” Jackson added in her closing remarks. “He was prosecuted for covering up for the president.”
Jackson, an appointee of President Barack Obama, jumped at the chance to address the simmering controversies when one of the newly assigned Stone prosecutors, John Crabb, about the issue as he delivered the government’s final comments.
“I want to apologize to the court for the confusion the government caused with respect to sentencing,” Crabb said.
During his brief statement to the court, the prosecutor appeared to go out of his way to push back against Trump’s attacks. Crabb said the prosecutors who filed the original recommendation that Stone go to prison for between seven and nine years did not defy their superiors or act inappropriately.
“I want to make clear to the court that the confusion was not caused by the original trial team,” he said, adding that it was filed by those prosecutors “in good faith.” Under questioning by Jackson, Crabb confirmed that the original recommendation was approved by a former aide to Barr who was recently installed as U.S. Attorney in Washington, Tim Shea.
Crabb said the confusion stemmed from miscommunication between Barr and Shea, but Crabb declined to elaborate. When the judge asked whether Crabb wrote the revised recommendation, he demurred again, saying that — despite his earlier comments — he was not permitted to discuss “internal deliberations.”
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.