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20 Feb, 2020 17:34

Roger Stone sentenced to serve 40 months in prison

Roger Stone sentenced to serve 40 months in prison

Long-time political operative and Trump confidant Roger Stone has been sentenced to 6 years in prison for perjury and obstruction of the ‘Russiagate’ probe, in a process marked by controversy and accusations of partisanship.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison for obstruction of justice, another 18 months for witness tampering, and 12 months for making false statements to Congress – but the sentences are to run concurrently, so the maximum time  Stone would spend in prison is three and a half years.

She also assessed a $20,000 penalty, for what she argued was wasting the government’s time and resources by misleading the “Russiagate” investigation.

The sentences have been deferred, however, pending Stone’s appeal for a new trial, based on the revelations that the jury may have been prejudiced against him.

Jackson has previously thrown the book at former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Dutch lawyer Alex Van Der Zwaan as part of the ‘Russiagate’ prosecutions pursued by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. She argued on Thursday that there was “nothing phony” about that probe, and that the US House of Representatives “had a duty to inquire about how documents from the DNC wound up in the hands of WikiLeaks."

Her sentence is less than the 7-9 years prison term requested earlier this month by Mueller’s prosecutors – who then resigned from the case, and some even left the Department of Justice, after Attorney General Bill Barr questioned their brief – but not by much.

Proceedings against Stone have been questioned as partisan from the start. The 60-something political operative was arrested in a pre-dawn raid by a heavily armed team of FBI agents, with CNN somehow getting tipped off and waiting to film it, at the height of the ‘Russiagate’ hysteria. The trial actually revealed that Trump’s campaign had absolutely no contacts with WikiLeaks – actually undermining the central claim of the ‘collusion’ narrative.

Moreover, the Mueller investigation eventually found no evidence that any “collusion” even existed between Trump and Russia during the 2016 US presidential election, making the underlying “crime” behind Stone’s conduct moot.

After the trial, it emerged that the jury foreperson was a lawyer, a Democratic operative, and an outspoken activist against Trump on social media – all of which should have disqualified her from even sitting on the jury, yet Jackson allowed it.

Trump himself denounced Jackson’s sentence ahead of time, saying that former FBI Director James Comey and his deputy Andrew McCabe had lied to Congress – and worse – as well, yet haven’t even been charged, much less convicted or jailed. 

Earlier this week, Trump issued pardons and commutations to eleven non-violent federal prisoners, fueling speculation that he might also preemptively pardon Stone, or his first national security adviser, General Michael Flynn, who is also facing a federal sentencing for falling into a perjury trap set up by FBI agents that have later been exposed as harboring anti-Trump bias during the 2016 election and spying on his campaign using improperly obtained FISA warrants.

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