Stone Gets Less of a Reprieve to Report to Prison Than He Wanted
President Donald Trump’s longtime ally Roger Stone got a two-week delay to the start of his 40-month prison sentence, far shorter than the two-month extension he requested.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Friday ordered Stone to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons by July 14 and said he must stay confined at home until then.
Stone was previously scheduled to report to prison next week. In requesting a third delay to start the prison sentence, Stone, 67, had argued that his age and medical condition made him vulnerable to the coronavirus, which is widespread in prison populations. The government didn’t challenge Stone’s request in court filings.
The veteran Republican political operative is slated to serve his sentence at a medium-security prison in Jesup, Georgia.
Jackson indicated earlier this week that she would not automatically grant Stone’s request, ordering the prosecutors to explain why they did not oppose the two-month delay he sought. In a court filing on Thursday night, the Justice Department said its current policy was to grant such requests and that it did not consider Stone “an immediate public safety or flight risk.”
Trump has long suggested he may pardon Stone, who was convicted in November in a case brought under Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. He was found guilty of lying to Congress about his communications with WikiLeaks about a plan to release hacked emails damaging to Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The government’s move to withdraw its initial recommendation that Stone be sentenced to as many as nine years in prison raised concerns about the political independence of the Justice Department under Attorney General William Barr.
That reversal prompted all four prosecutors working on the Stone case to resign. One of them, Aaron Zelinsky, testified before Congress on June 24, saying there was political interference in the case. Stone was “treated differently from every other defendant” because of his relationship with the president, Zelinsky said.
Barr, who is scheduled to testify before Congress on July 28, has denied that his actions were politically motivated.
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