Trump associate Roger Stone may face up to 9 years in prison for lying to Congress
If the government’s argument is accepted by the judge, Stone’s sentence would be the longest of those sent to prison as a result of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian meddling.Updated: Feb 11, 2020 15:30 IST
Longtime Republican operative Roger Stone deserves to spend as long as nine years in prison for lying to Congress to protect President Donald Trump and other crimes, U.S. prosecutors told a judge.
Stone, 67, who was convicted in November, argues he’s been punished by his public trial and loss of professional standing. His age, health, and status as a first-time offender convicted of a non-violent crime don’t warrant a prison sentence, he said in a court filing Monday. He asked for probation.
Stone is due to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington on Feb. 20.
“Roger Stone obstructed Congress’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, lied under oath and tampered with a witness,” the U.S. said in its filing. “And when his crimes were revealed by the indictment in this case, he displayed contempt for this court and the rule of law.”
If the government’s argument is accepted by the judge, Stone’s sentence would be the longest of those sent to prison as a result of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian meddling. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is serving 7 1/2 years for bank fraud and other crimes, and Michael Cohen, the president’s onetime personal lawyer, is doing three years behind bars.
Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, is also due to be sentenced after pleading guilty to lying to federal agents. He has asked for permission to withdraw that plea and his Feb. 27 sentencing date has been cancelled by the judge.
The U.S. case against Stone -- the last person charged in Mueller’s 22-month probe -- included evidence that Trump knew about WikiLeaks’ plans to release emails damaging to his rival, Hillary Clinton. Stone lied to Congress to protect the president, prosecutors said.
Stone’s lawyer, Bruce S. Rogow, didn’t return a call seeking comment on the government’s recommendation.
The government said in its memorandum that Stone’s sentence should be consistent with federal sentencing guidelines for his crimes, a range of 87 to 108 months.
Stone’s sentence should be enhanced because he used threats of violence in his campaign to keep a possible intermediary with WikiLeaks -- comedian and talk show host Randy Credico -- silent about the scheme, telling Credico in writing to “Prepare to die,” prosecutors said. It doesn’t matter whether Stone had a “serious plan” to harm him, the U.S. said.
“Credico testified that Stone’s threats concerned him because he was worried that Stone’s words, if repeated in public, might make ‘other people get ideas,’” the government said.
But Stone rejected the claim, saying Credico made it clear he didn’t consider anything Stone said as a threat.
“Stone’s indecorous conversations with Randy Credico were many things, but here, in the circumstances of this nearly 20-year relationship between eccentric men, where crude language was the norm” weren’t threats of physical harm, his lawyers wrote.
“Stone and Credico engaged in an ongoing dialogue in which each used harsh language as a matter of course and it was understood between them that, as Credico put it, it was ‘all bark and no bite,”’ the lawyers said.
Federal prosecutors also argued that Stone’s sentence should be enhanced because after he was indicted he posted an image of the judge overseeing the case with a crosshair next to her head and violated a court order by repeatedly posting about the case on social media.
Shortly after last year’s verdict, Trump complained about Stone’s conviction on Twitter.