Politics

Roger Stone Sentenced To 40 Months In Prison

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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A federal judge in Washington, D.C., sentenced Trump associate Roger Stone to 40 months in prison Thursday on charges that he obstructed a congressional investigation and tampered with a witness.

The sentence, handed down by Judge Amy Berman Jackson, is in line with a revised recommendation that prosecutors submitted to the court last week, but far steeper than the probation that Stone’s lawyers were seeking.

With the sentence, all eyes turn to President Donald Trump to see if he will pardon his longtime friend.

Trump signaled last week that he was considering a pardon for Stone after prosecutors initially recommended that he serve up to nine years in prison. Trump called the recommendation “disgraceful” and a “miscarriage of justice.”

Trump tweeted about Stone’s case Thursday morning, comparing the treatment that Stone has received to the lack of charges against former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Hillary Clinton. The Justice Department said last week that prosecutors were closing a false statements investigation against McCabe with no charges. The FBI closed its investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified information on July 5, 2016.

Jackson was highly critical of Stone during remarks before announcing the sentence.

She blasted the Trump confidante, saying he “endeavored mightily” to misled Congress during an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. She also rejected allegations from Stone and his allies that he was prosecuted for political reasons.

The special counsel’s office indicted Stone on Jan. 24, 2019 on five counts of making false statements to Congress during a House Intelligence Committee investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. He was also charged with obstructing that investigation, as well as tampering with a witness called to testify in the probe.

While Jackson repeatedly rebuked Stone, she ended up delivering a sentence less than half of one that prosecutors initially recommended in the case.

On Feb. 10, prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington recommended that Stone serve between 87 months and 108 months in jail for his crimes. (RELATED: Lead Juror In Roger Stone’s Case Ran For Congress As A Democrat In 2012)

After Trump tweeted criticism of the recommendation, the Justice Department signaled through statements to the media that officials at headquarters were also unhappy with the recommendation and that the government would be revising its court filing to lower the proposed sentence.

Four prosecutors withdrew from Stone’s case in protest over the revision.

In a filing Feb. 11, the U.S. Attorney’s Office recommended that Stone face “substantial” jail time, but a sentence that was “far less” than what was initially recommended.

Attorney General William Barr said in an interview Feb. 13 that he did not speak with Trump about Stone’s case, and that he independently believed that the Trump ally’s sentence was “very excessive.”

The main difference between the two recommendations hinged on how much additional jail time prosecutors wanted to give Stone for a series of text messages that he sent in 2018 to his longtime associate, Randy Credico.

Prosecutors alleged at Stone’s trial that he threatened Credico in order to prevent him from cooperating with the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation.

Stone had asserted to the committee and publicly that Credico was a source of information for him regarding WikiLeaks’ activities in 2016. Credico, a left-wing comedian and radio show host, vehemently denied it.

During a heated text message exchange on April 9, 2018, Stone wrote to Credico, “Prepare to die, cocksucker.” He also told Credico that he would “take that dog from you,” a reference to Credico’s service dog.

Based on federal sentencing guidelines, characterizing Stone’s messages as a physical threat would add as much as five years to his prison sentence. In their revising sentencing recommendation, prosecutors noted that Credico testified that he never felt in physical danger from Stone’s text messages. Credico also wrote a letter to Judge Jackson on Jan. 20 asking her to spare Stone of jail time.

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