President Trump commutes former adviser Roger Stone’s prison sentence
WASHINGTON (US) – President Donald Trump on Friday commuted the prison sentence of his longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone. He was convicted of lying under oath to lawmakers probing the Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The decision to commute the sentence came as Stone was due to report to prison. The commuting of the sentence is the president’s most forceful intervention to shield an associate. The executive clemency was slammed by Democrats who said it was an assault on the rule of law.
In a statement, the White House said “Roger Stone has already suffered greatly. He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!”
Stone, who is a veteran Republican, has been associated with Trump for decades. The 67-year-old was slated to report to a federal prison in Jesup, Georgia, on Tuesday to serve three years and four months.
The president gave Stone a commutation, which does not erase the criminal conviction, rather than a full pardon.
“This is a horrific, horrific nightmare when you realise that this investigation never had any legitimate or lawful beginning, it was a witch hunt,” Stone said at his Fort Lauderdale home wearing a face mask sporting the words “Free Roger Stone”.
During the probe conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Stone and several other Trump associates were charged with crimes. The probe was aimed at documenting the Russian interference to bolster Trump’s campaign.
The White House statement flayed Mueller’s probe and the prosecutors in Stone’s case. It said Stone is a “victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency.”
The probe unearthed massive contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russians.
Meanwhile Democrats and critics have accused the president of undermining the rule of law citing criminal cases against associates including Stone, former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said: “With this commutation, Trump makes clear that there are two systems of justice in America: one for his criminal friends, and one for everyone else.”
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field