A federal judge has sentenced United States President Donald Trump’s political advisor Roger Stone to more than three years in prison and two years of probation on February 20 for seven felony charges, including lying to Congress and threatening a witness in 2016.
Stone was found guilty of obstructing a congressional investigation, making numerous false statements to Congress and witness tampering in November 2019.
Due to the severity of the crimes, prosecutors in the case had pushed for a sentence of at least seven to nine years for Stone, which Trump reportedly deemed as unfair. Trump also said that the case should be thrown out. “I thought the whole prosecution was ridiculous,” said Trump.
Many had called for a lesser prison time for Stone, including US Attorney General William Barr.
Trump has said he won’t pardon Stone at present, although he claims that Stone has a good chance of exoneration. “I’m following this very closely, and I want to see it play out to its fullest, because Roger has a very good chance of exoneration, in my opinion,” Trump said on February 20 in a speech at a Hope for Prisoners event in Las Vegas.
Request for a new trial
Stone has asked for a new trial after claiming juror misconduct during the trial. Judge Amy Berman Jackson has reportedly previously thrown out Stone’s request for a new case.
Stone claims that one juror should be barred from the panel for bias because the person is employed in a division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) “that works hand-in-hand with the Department of Justice prosecuting criminal tax matters,” and that he or she has read misleading news about Stone’s arrest.
“The court finds in its discretion that it was not necessary to strike the juror for alleged bias or for failure to follow the court’s instructions,” Jackson has said. Jackson, who was appointed by former US President Barack Obama, has been criticized by Trump for treating Stone “unfairly.”
The judge took 45 minutes to explain the reasoning for the 40-months sentencing. “He was not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the president. He was prosecuted for covering up for the president,” Jackson said.