WASHINGTON - A judge sentenced political consultant Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump, to 40 months in prison Thursday following his conviction last year on charges of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction.
Update 8:25 p.m. EST Feb. 23: A federal judge denied Roger Stone’s request Sunday to recuse herself two days after President Donald Trump’s confidant accused her of bias.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson said there was no legal or factual basis to remove her from the case, CNN reported.
Berman said Stone’s request was “nothing more than an attempt to use the Court’s docket to disseminate a statement for public consumption that has the words ‘judge’ and 'biased’ in it,” NBC News reported.
Stone made the request Friday night.
BREAKING: Judge denies Roger Stone’s request for recusal, writing that the request appeared to be "nothing more than an attempt to use the Court’s docket to disseminate a statement for public consumption that has the words 'judge' and 'biased' in it." https://t.co/9dpdoalO19— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 24, 2020
Update 3:40 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Trump told a crowd gathered Thursday in Las Vegas that he believes Stone “has a very good chance of exoneration, in my opinion.”
“I want the process to play out. I think that’s the best thing to do. Because I’d love to see Roger exonerated,” Trump said while delivering a commencement speech at HOPE for Prisoners Graduation. “I personally think he was treated very unfairly.
"Roger has a very good chance of exoneration."— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) February 20, 2020
At the Hope for Prisoners graduation ceremony, Trump gives a statement after his longtime confidant Roger Stone was sentenced to more than 3 years in prison for lying to Congress during the Mueller probe pic.twitter.com/eJfZzQJxfX
During the 2016 campaign, Stone mentioned in interviews and public appearances that he was in contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange through a trusted intermediary and hinted at inside knowledge of the group’s plans to release hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton.
Testimony revealed that Stone, while appearing before the House Intelligence Committee, named comedian Randy Credico as his intermediary and pressured Credico not to contradict him.
After Credico was contacted by Congress, he reached out to Stone, who told him he should “stonewall it” and “plead the fifth,” he testified. Credico also testified during Stone’s trial that Stone repeatedly told him to “do a ‘Frank Pentangeli,’” a reference to a character in “The Godfather: Part II” who lies before Congress.
Credico and Stone have had a working relationship for more than dozen years, beginning in 2002 while Credico was working on a third-party candidate’s campaign in that year’s gubernatorial election in New York, according to Politico.
“They talk about witness tampering, but the man that (Stone) was tampering didn’t seem to have that much of a problem with it,” Trump said Thursday. “They’ve known each other for years. It’s not like the tampering that I see on television, when you watch a movie -- that’s called tampering, with guns to people’s heads and lots of other things.”
Update 12:55 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Thursday sentenced Stone to serve a total of 40 months in prison.
According to Courthouse News, Jackson sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison for obstruction, 12 months for each of five counts of making false statements and 17 months for witness tampering. The sentences were all set to run concurrently, Courthouse News reported.
Breakdown of Roger Stone's sentence:— Megan Mineiro (@MMineiro_CNS) February 20, 2020
COUNT 1 - 40 MONTHS
COUNT 2 to 6 -- 12 MONTHS
COUNTS 7 -- 18 MONTHS
*all to run concurrently*
Stone is expected to remain free for the next few weeks, Mother Jones reported.
Press and onlookers waiting for Stone, who is not going to prison for a least a few weeks, to emerge. pic.twitter.com/Z6LfVH8j9r— Dan Friedman (@dfriedman33) February 20, 2020
Update 12:35 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Judge Amy Berman Jackson has sentenced Roger Stone to serve 40 months, according to Vox.
ABJ hands down the sentence: 40 months.— Andrew Prokop (@awprokop) February 20, 2020
Update 12:30 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Thursday that Trump’s tweets in support of Stone “were totally inappropriate,” but she said she wouldn’t hold the 67-year-old accountable for the president’s actions, according to Mother Jones.
Jackson refers to Trump as having a longstanding personal relationship with Stone, notes that Trump's own conduct was at issue in the case.— Dan Friedman (@dfriedman33) February 20, 2020
Last week, Trump took to Twitter to slam a sentencing proposal from DOJ prosecutors, which called for between seven and nine years behind bars, as “horrible and very unfair.”
Update 12 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Judge Amy Berman Jackson told Stone on Thursday that the case against him wasn’t politically motivated but instead “arose because Roger Stone characteristically inserted himself smack in the middle of one of the most incendiary issues of the day,” Courthouse News and Mother Jones reported.
Judge Jackson says Roger Stone's prosecution was not the result of enabling anyone to have a political advantage, or to vilify the defendant.— Megan Mineiro (@MMineiro_CNS) February 20, 2020
“It arose because Roger Stone characteristically inserted himself smack in the middle of one of the most incendiary issues of the day."
"That (lying to Congress) was why he was indicted. Not for his political activities," Jackson says. She notes Devin Nunes, then Chair of the Intelligence Committee, gave Mueller the panel's transcript of Stone's interview "without reservations."— Dan Friedman (@dfriedman33) February 20, 2020
Stone’s sentencing hearing is ongoing.
Update 11:25 a.m. EST Feb. 20: Judge Amy Berman Jackson has called for a brief recess in Stone’s sentencing hearing, Courthouse News reported.
Judge Jackson now taking a brief recess, 10 to 15 mins, then will return with the sentence.— Megan Mineiro (@MMineiro_CNS) February 20, 2020
Update 10:35 a.m. EST Feb. 20: Trump questioned the fairness of the case against Stone again Thursday in a tweet as the political consultant appeared in a Washington courthouse for sentencing.
Trump compared Stone’s case to accusations that former FBI director James Comey and former deputy director Andrew McCabe lied to Congress, allegations they’ve denied.
“They say Roger Stone lied to Congress.” @CNN OH, I see, but so did Comey (and he also leaked classified information, for which almost everyone, other than Crooked Hillary Clinton, goes to jail for a long time), and so did Andy McCabe, who also lied to the FBI! FAIRNESS?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2020
The president’s tweets were posted as Stone appeared before Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington.
Original report: The sentencing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Thursday.
NEW: Roger Stone arrives at a DC courthouse for expected sentencing on his conviction for witness tampering and lying to Congress. A few onlookers yelled "Traitor!" at him as entered the building. https://t.co/AVTtUPvjgI pic.twitter.com/Ywwg5VvLoR— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) February 20, 2020
The action in federal court comes amid Trump's unrelenting defense of his longtime confidant that has led to a mini-revolt inside the Justice Department and allegations the president has interfered in the case.
Trump last week criticized a sentencing proposal from DOJ prosecutors, which called for between seven and nine years behind bars, as “horrible and very unfair.”
This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice! https://t.co/rHPfYX6Vbv— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2020
Afterward, U.S. Attorney General William Barr backed off the sentencing recommendation, though Justice Department officials said the decision had been made Monday night — before Trump's tweet — and that prosecutors had not spoken to the White House about it.
A jury convicted Stone in November on several charges connected to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Prosecutors said he lied to protect the Trump campaign from embarrassment and scrutiny in its quest for emails hacked by Russian officials and disseminated by WikiLeaks during the election.
Stone was a prominent figure in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. He and Trump have been friends since the 1980s, according to The Washington Post.
Rumors have swirled since his conviction that Trump might issue a pardon for him, though he said in December that he hadn’t considered it, USA Today reported.
"I think it’s very tough what they did to Roger Stone compared to what they do to other people, on their side," the president added, according to the newspaper.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.