Execution of his sentence delayed while motion for a new trial is considered…
(Liberty Headlines) Trump loyalist and ally Roger Stone was sentenced Thursday to more than three years in federal prison, validating an extraordinary move by Attorney General William Barr to back off Justice Department prosecutors’ absurdly lengthy and vengeful sentencing recommendation.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Stone’s crimes demanded a significant time behind bars, but she said the seven to nine years originally recommended by the Justice Department were excessive.
Stone’s lawyers had asked for a sentence of probation, citing his age of 67 years, his health and his lack of criminal history. Instead, he drew 40 months.
Stone had no immediate reaction in court when Jackson announced his sentence. He also did not speak to reporters after the court session. The judge delayed execution of his sentence while she considers Stone’s motion for a new trial.
He was convicted in November on all seven counts of an indictment that accused him of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election.
The sentence came amid Trump’s unrelenting defense of his longtime confidant that has led to a mini-revolt among the deep-state Trump opponents inside the Justice Department.
Trump took to Twitter to denounce as a “miscarriage of justice” the initial recommendation by Justice Department prosecutors that Stone receive at least seven years in prison.
Attorney General William Barr overruled that recommendation, prompting the four prosecutors to quit Stone’s case.
Jackson denied that Stone was being punished for his politics or his allies.
“He was not prosecuted, as some have claimed, for standing up for the president. He was prosecuted for covering up for the president,” she said.
She said Stone’s use of social media to stoke public sentiment against the prosecution and the court was intended to reach a wide audience, including using a photo of Jackson with crosshairs superimposed.
“This is intolerable to the administration of justice,” Jackson said. She also had stern words for the new prosecution team.
“Why are you the one who is standing here today?” Jackson asked federal prosecutor John Crabb, who took over the case after the original trial team quit.
Crabb said there had been a “miscommunication” between Barr and Timothy Shea, the former Barr aide who now serves as the acting U.S. Attorney in the nation’s capital. Crabb asked the judge to impose “a substantial period of incarceration.”
After Stone’s attorney, Seth Ginsberg, repeated the defense team’s plea that Stone get no prison time, Stone declined to address the court.
Given Trump’s recent clemency spree that saw him commute the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, as well as nearly a dozen others, there has been speculation that Trump could eventually pardon Stone.
“I haven’t given it any thought … but I think he’s been treated very unfairly,” Trump said this week. Overnight Thursday, Trump retweeted a conservative cable host’s comment that what happened to Stone “should never happen again.”
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.