Roger Stone Sentenced to More Than 3 Years in Prison

By Jack Phillips

Roger Stone, the longtime friend and former adviser to President Donald Trump, was sentenced Thursday morning to three years and four months in prison at a federal court in Washington amid controversy over how the Department of Justice handled his case in recent weeks.

Stone was convicted on charges including lying to a congressional committee that was investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, drawing frequent criticism from the president.

Judge Amy Jackson, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, disputed claims that Stone was convicted because he was being accused by outside political forces.

“This case did not arise because Roger Stone was being pursued by his political enemies,” the judge said in court. “It arose because Roger Stone characteristically injected himself smack into the middle of one of the most significant issues of the day,” Berman added.

At the same time, prosecutor John Crabb Jr. said the sentencing should be higher because “the defendant threatened both his personal safety and his pet,” referring to witness Randy Credico. Before that, Roger Stone’s defense attorney, Seth Ginsberg, wrote that Stone should not receive a longer sentence because that threat wasn’t “serious enough” to “trigger the guidelines,” adding that he is known for “rough, hyperbolic language,” and Credico knew “it was just Stone being Stone.”

Stone, meanwhile, told the judge that he doesn’t want to issue a statement in court.

The charges stemmed from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Ultimately, he found no evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin. Also, during his later trial, prosecutors said Stone collaborated with WikiLeaks to release Democratic Party emails during the 2016 campaign.

The Department of Justice, led by Attorney General William Barr, intervened and withdrew the seven-to-nine-year sentencing recommendation in Stone’s case. Four prosecutors involved resigned from the case, triggering Democrats in Congress to accuse Trump and Barr of politicizing the department during its investigations.

Barr, in an ABC News interview last week, called on the president to refrain from commenting on Justice Department investigations on social media, saying it was making it “impossible to do my job.” Trump had described the Stone conviction and sentencing as “unfair” and a “miscarriage of justice” on Twitter.

roger stone
Roger Stone (L) with his wife Nydia Stone leaves federal court in Washington on Nov. 15, 2019. (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

Despite Barr’s comment, Trump posted a clip on Twitter at 2 a.m. of Fox News host Tucker Carlson calling Stone’s case a “shocking insult to the American tradition of equal justice.” He then pinned the post to the top of his Twitter feed.

In his interview, Barr denied discussing the Stone case, or any other case, with Trump. “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody … whether it’s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president,” the attorney general said. “I’m gonna do what I think is right. And you know … I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”

In response, the White House said Trump has full confidence in Barr’s abilities, while Trump told reporters that he has the right to get involved in cases, including Stone’s.

“Just so you understand: I chose not to be involved,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “I’m allowed to be totally involved. I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country, but I’ve chosen not to be involved.”

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson earlier this week said she would delay enforcing Stone’s sentence until making a decision on if he should get a new trial or not.

Photos taken by The Associated Press and Getty Images captured Stone arriving at the courthouse in a pinstripe suit and fedora hat, accompanied by his wife and daughters.

Trump this week also granted clemency to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich as well as nearly a dozen others. Blagojevich was convicted for trying to sell Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat and attempting to extort a children’s hospital, although the former governor has long denied the charges against him. As a result, there has been speculation that Trump may eventually pardon Stone.

When Trump was asked earlier this week about whether he would pardon Stone, he said, “Let’s see what happens.”

From The Epoch Times