Roger Stone, the longtime friend and former adviser to President Donald Trump, was sentenced Thursday morning to three years and four months in prison at a federal court in Washington amid controversy over how the Department of Justice handled his case in recent weeks.
Stone was convicted on charges including lying to a congressional committee that was investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, drawing frequent criticism from the president.
Judge Amy Jackson, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, disputed claims that Stone was convicted because he was being accused by outside political forces.
“This case did not arise because Roger Stone was being pursued by his political enemies,” the judge said in court. “It arose because Roger Stone characteristically injected himself smack into the middle of one of the most significant issues of the day,” Berman added.
At the same time, prosecutor John Crabb Jr. said the sentencing should be higher because “the defendant threatened both his personal safety and his pet,” referring to witness Randy Credico. Before that, Roger Stones defense attorney, Seth Ginsberg, wrote that Stone should not receive a longer sentence because that threat wasnt “serious enough” to “trigger the guidelines,” adding that he is known for “rough, hyperbolic language,” and Credico knew “it was just Stone being Stone.”
Stone, meanwhile, told the judge that he doesnt want to issue a statement in court.
The charges stemmed from former special counsel Robert Muellers investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Ultimately, he found no evidence of collusion between Trumps campaign and the Kremlin. Also, during his later trial, prosecutors said Stone collaborated with WikiLeaks to release Democratic Party emails during the 2016 campaign.
The Department of Justice, led by Attorney General William Barr, intervened and withdrew the seven-to-nine-year sentencing recommendation in Stones case. Four prosecutors involved resigned from the case, triggering Democrats in Congress to accuse Trump and Barr of politicizing the department during its investigations.
Barr, in an ABC News interview last week, called on the president to refrain from commenting on Justice Department investigations on social media, saying it was making it “impossible to do my job.” Trump had described the Stone conviction and sentencing as “unfair” and a “miscarriage of justice” on Twitter.
Despite Barrs comment, Trump posted a clip on Twitter at 2 a.m. of Fox News host Tucker Carlson calling Stones case a “shocking insult to the American tradition of equal justice.” He then pinned the post to the top of his Twitter feed.
In his interview, Barr denied discussing the Stone case, or any other case, with Trump. “Im not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody … whether its Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president,” the attorney general Read More – Source