Courtesy of Politico
By Eva Lynch
Roger Stone, a political consultant and convicted felon, remains one of the few clear victims of the infamous Mueller Report.
Stone was convicted on seven counts following the release of the controversial report and awaited sentencing for ten months. Less obvious than his guilt is the appropriate sentencing; prosecutors publicly called for seven to nine years, President Donald Trump quickly took to Twitter to slam this request, and his Justice Department quickly followed with a recommendation of a lighter sentence. All four prosecutors resigned from the case following the DOJ’s memorandum, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer demanded an investigation thereof.
Then in February 2020, Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who handed Stone his sentence, said in her closing remarks, “He was not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the president. He was prosecuted for covering up for the president.”
Stone was expected to fight his sentencing and made the first step in doing so by motioning for a retrial on counts of misconduct and bias by the jury foreperson, Tomeka Hart. Hart once ran for Congress in Tennessee as a Democrat, and her voiced hatred for Trump is etched in her social media. Before receiving his sentencing and filing a motion for retrial, Stone and his legal team denied the time to check into Hart’s background and to object to her seating on the jury.
Jackson denied this motion with an 81-page response in which she called the motion “a tower of indignation, but at the end of the day, there is little of substance holding it up.”
Trump took to Twitter following Stone’s sentencing to respond: “There has rarely been a juror so tainted as the forewoman in the Roger Stone case. Look at her background. She never revealed her hatred of ‘Trump’ and Stone. She was totally biased, as is the judge. Roger wasn’t even working on my campaign. Miscarriage of justice. Sad to watch!”
Stone is expected to report to prison in two weeks, but amidst the current pandemic, this timeline is now blurred. Stone is also expected to appeal his convictions and sentencing, though an appeal will have no effect on his prison start date without a stay from Jackson or a higher court.
Many of Stone’s critics argue that because he was obviously guilty of the counts on which he was convicted, further contention of his conviction and sentencing, represent flaunting of political clout aimed at nothing but to avoid jail time. The conviction of Trump’s friend invariably put pressure on him to respect and side with the judge and jury, or to pull his presidential weight and pardon his consultant. The timing of such a choice could not be more meaningful for Trump.
The president is expected to decide in the coming months whether to issue a pardon for his longtime advisor and prevent Stone from having to celebrate his 70th birthday behind bars. When asked how he felt after his motion for retrial was denied, Stone said he is asking for a pardon from President Trump, and replied, “The matter is in God’s hands. While my new lawyers are excellent, and our legal options are many, the next act in my career will be guided by Jesus Christ, and I have placed full faith in Him.”