WASHINGTON – Roger Stone, a long-time friend and collaborator of President Donald Trump, was sentenced on Thursday to three years and four months in prison after being convicted of seven offenses related to the probe of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson also ordered Stone, 67, to pay $20,000 in fines and perform community service. The veteran political operative will be on probation for two years after he serves his sentence.
The sentencing followed more than a week of controversy about how severe a punishment Stone should face for five counts of making false statements to authorities, one of obstructing the House Intelligence Committee investigation of Russia-gate and one of threatening a witness.
Trump complained on Twitter after learning that the Department of Justice wanted to put Stone behind bars for up to nine years.
Attorney General William Barr intervened to reduce the sentencing request, prompting the four career prosecutors handling the case to withdraw.
“The truth still exists. The truth still matters. Roger Stone’s insistence that it doesn’t, his pride in his own lies, are a threat to the very foundation of this democracy,” Berman said before passing sentence.
“The dismay and disgust at the defendant’s belligerence should transcend party,” the judge said, adding that if Stone’s conduct “goes unpunished … everyone loses.”
While describing Barr’s intervention as “unprecedented” and commending the four prosecutors who recommended a sentence of seven-to-nine years, Jackson said that she would not have imposed the longer sentence.
The judge agreed to delay the start of Stone’s sentence until after she rules on his attorneys’ motion for a new trial, which they filed last week after Trump said that one of the jurors had “significant bias.”
Stone, whose career as a self-confessed “dirty trickster” dates back to President Richard Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign, was dismissed from the Trump campaign in August 2015, but remained in contact with the candidate.
Washington turns now to speculation on whether Trump will pardon Stone.
On Tuesday, the president conferred pardons and sentence commutations on 11 high-profile convicts, including former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevic, junk-bond mogul Michael Milken and Bernard Kerik, who was police commissioner in New York City.