The President of the United States, Donald Trump, commuted the prison sentence of his friend and former adviser Roger Stone, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison, the White House announced Friday.
Roger Stone had been convicted of lying to Congress, obstructing and manipulating witnesses in the context of the investigation of Russian interference during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
The former councilor’s trip to prison would be scheduled for next week.
“Today [sexta-feira], President Donald J. Trump ordered executive clemency to commute Roger Stone’s unjust sentence, “White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.
Roger Stone, he added, “has suffered a lot. He has been treated very unfairly, as have many others in this case. He is now a free man.”
Unlike a presidential pardon, which would free Stone from the crimes for which he was convicted, Trump’s action in committing his sentence only lifted his 40-month prison sentence.
The White House statement states that Stone faced “an unfair charge, imprisonment and trial” and that, despite the conviction, “maintains his innocence”, for which he deserves, according to the White House, the opportunity to defend again your case in court.
In addition, the White House cited Stone’s health risks that would be posed by his incarceration due to the covid-19 pandemic.
Stone was convicted after weeks of internal strife at the Justice Department, with US Attorney General William Barr issuing a recommendation urging that the initial request for punishment be reduced.
Barr’s recommendation prompted several prosecutors who dealt with the case to resign and denounce pressure from senior Justice Department officials to treat Stone “differently and more condescendingly” during his trial due to his relationship with Trump.
Characterized by his provocative style, Stone is a veteran Republican political consultant whose clients included former presidents Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) and Richard Nixon (1969-1974) and whose favorite motto is “Nothing to admit, deny everything, and fight back”.
Stone, who has advised Trump for years and worked until August 2015 on his election campaign, was arrested by the FBI in January 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
According to the U.S. Attorney General, Stone acted as a link between the Trump 2016 campaign and the WikiLeaks platform, which released stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee, detrimental to Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidate’s campaign.
Stone was convicted as part of the investigation conducted by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller of the Russian conspiracy, which exonerated Trump from conspiring with Russia during the 2016 election process, but cast doubt on the President’s ability to obstruct the investigation.