Judge delays Roger Stone’s prison release date by 2 weeks

WASHINGTON – A federal judge is giving Roger Stone, a former ally and confidant of President Donald Trump, two more weeks before he must appear to serve his federal prison sentence.

Federal district judge Amy Berman Jackson’s ruling Friday comes days after Stone asked the court to allow him to postpone his more than 3-year sentence until September, citing concerns about the coronavirus.

Stone was convicted in November of seven counts of an indictment accusing him of lying to Congress, manipulating a witness, and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to turn around the 2016 election. .

Stone was scheduled to surrender at FCI Jesup, a federal medium-security prison in Georgia on June 30. Stone had asked for a delay in his surrender date to September 3 due to concerns that the coronavirus had spread rapidly in federal prisons across the country. United States No cases of coronavirus have been reported in FCI Jesup and more than two dozen inmates awaiting test results this week had turned negative, federal prosecutors said.

Prosecutors did not object to Stone’s request for the delay, but said it was only because the Justice Department’s current policy is not to oppose such requests for a delay of up to 60 days.

Stone will also be placed in home confinement before he gives up, in part because of “the strong medical recommendation” put forth by his defense attorneys, the judge wrote in his order. Court officials would oversee the home confinement before Stone is due to surrender in prison on July 14.

“This will address the accused’s stated medical concerns during the current increase in reported cases in Florida, and particularly in Broward County, and will respect and protect the health of other inmates who share the accused’s anxiety about the possible introduction and spread of virus in this now unaffected installation, “wrote Berman Jackson.

The Bureau of Prisons has said that Stone will not be required to go to a quarantine facility because he is voluntarily surrendering. But authorities said last month that Stone would have to undergo a 14-day quarantine once he arrived at the facility. It is unclear whether Stone would also have to undergo that quarantine.

Stone was the sixth Trump aide or adviser to be convicted of charges brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Before his February 20 sentence, Justice Department leaders deviated from his initial recommendation just hours after Trump tweeted his disgust at the recommendation of up to nine years in prison, saying it had been too harsh. The move led to a brief outbreak between Attorney General William Barr and Trump.

Aaron Zelinsky, a career Justice Department prosecutor who was part of Mueller’s team and worked on the case against Stone, told the House Judiciary Committee this week that Stone received different treatment before his sentence because of their relationship. with the president.

Stone was sentenced to serve more than three years in prison plus two years probation and a $ 20,000 fine.

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