Roger Stone is scheduled to report next Tuesday to a federal prison that has seen a surge this week in coronavirus cases, though President Donald Trump has hinted he may grant clemency to his longtime friend.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on June 26 rejected Stone’s request to delay his surrender to federal custody until Sept. 1. The Obama appointee ordered Stone to report to a medium-security prison in Jesup, Georgia on July 14.
Stone, 67, argued for a reporting delay on the basis that he is at high risk of complications from coronavirus due to his age and because he suffers from asthma.
Jackson noted in her denial that Jesup had no confirmed cases of coronavirus.
But cases have spiked at the facility over the past two weeks as Georgia and neighboring Florida have seen a wave of new coronavirus infections.
On Tuesday, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) listed three active coronavirus cases at Jesup, which is about an hour west of Savannah. As of Thursday evening, the BOP site was reporting 20 active cases among the 1,359 inmates at the facility. Four prison staffers also have also tested positive for the virus, according to BOP data.
The Justice Department has granted furloughs and home confinement orders to thousands of federal inmates deemed at high risk for severe coronavirus complications, either due to age or underlying medical conditions. (RELATED: Citing Coronavirus, Judges Released Child Pornographers From Prison That Will Soon House Roger Stone)
Stone submitted an appeal to the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. on Monday, saying that Jesup had developed confirmed cases of coronavirus in the days since Jackson denied his request for a longer delay for his surrender. He also pointed to two Jesup inmates who were released last month to house arrest because of their age and medical problems.
The two inmates were serving sentences on charges that they possessed and distributed child pornography, the Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported.
Stone has openly acknowledged that he hopes Trump will save him from jail by granting clemency in the form of a pardon or commuted sentence.
“I want the President to know that I have, in good faith, exhausted all of my legal remedies and that only an act of clemency by the President will provide Justice in my case,” he said in a statement after filing his latest appeal.
Trump has repeatedly hinted that he will help Stone, saying that he believes his longtime associate was the victim of a political witch hunt.
Reached for comment about the uptick in coronavirus infections at Jesup, Stone pointed to Aaron Zelinsky, the special counsel prosecutor who handled Stone’s case. Zelinsky testified as a whistleblower before the House Judiciary Committee on June 24, but did so via Skype, saying that he had a newborn and was concerned about coronavirus.
Stone told the DCNF that “it is rather hypocritical” that Zelinsky declined to testify in person at the hearing, “yet he wants to send me to a prison where there are now 20 known cases of the potentially fatal virus.”
A federal jury in Washington, D.C. convicted Stone on Nov. 15 on charges that he lied to Congress about discussions with associates regarding WikiLeaks, as well as on an obstruction and witness tampering charge.
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