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President Donald Trump commutes prison sentence of political ally Roger Stone

Stone was to begin sentence Tuesday
President Donald Trump commutes sentence of political ally Roger Stone, reports say
Posted at 8:03 PM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 22:20:44-04

President Donald Trump says he has issued a pardon to his longtime ally Roger Stone, according to a statement from the White House.

Stone, who was convicted of several crimes in connection to the investigation launched by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, was set to begin a 40-month prison sentence on Tuesday.

"Roger 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 White House statement read. "There was never any collusion between the Trump Campaign, or the Trump Administration, with Russia."

Stone was briefly and advisor to the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. Though he left the campaign in controversy, he still supported Trump and the campaign on his behalf. He's alleged to have made contact with WikiLeaks, the organization that published a trove of hacked emails linked to the Clinton campaign.

Stone was convicted of seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering in connection with his testimony during a House Intelligence Committee and his attempts to have a friend lie to investigators on his behalf.

Upon his conviction, federal attorneys recommended Stone serve a prison sentence of between seven and nine years. However, the Department of Justice quickly rescinded that resignation, calling it excessive. In response, all the federal attorneys on the case resigned, and Attorney General Bill Barr was criticized for his department's rescinding of the recommendation.

"Mr. Stone would be put at serious medical risk in prison. He has appealed his conviction and is seeking a new trial," the White House statement read. "He maintains his innocence and has stated that he expects to be fully exonerated by the justice system. Mr. Stone, like every American, deserves a fair trial and every opportunity to vindicate himself before the courts. The President does not wish to interfere with his efforts to do so. At this time, however, and particularly in light of the egregious facts and circumstances surrounding his unfair prosecution, arrest, and trial, the President has determined to commute his sentence. Roger Stone has already suffered greatly."

While Mueller's report could not determine a direct link between the Trump campaign and Russia, it could not rule out that Trump obstructed justice throughout the investigation.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chair of the House Intelliegence Committee, said that the commutation meant that "there are now two systems of justice in America: One for Trump's criminal friends and one for everyone else."