Judge sentences Trump advisor Roger Stone to 40 months in prison

As part of a tantrum about Roger Stone last week, Trump said, "Nobody even knows what he did." A federal judge apparently knows exactly what he did.
Image: Roger Stone
Roger Stone, arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse on Feb. 20, 2020 in Washington.Mark Wilson / Getty Images
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By Steve Benen

About a week ago, as part of an odd tantrum about Republican operative Roger Stone's criminal case, Donald Trump declared, "[N]obody even knows what he did."

As it turns out, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson knows what Stone did -- and she's sentenced him to more than three years behind bars.

Roger Stone, a friend of President Donald Trump and longtime Republican campaign adviser, was sentenced to three years, four months in federal prison Thursday for obstructing a congressional investigation of Russia's 2016 presidential election meddling. But Stone will not have to report to prison until the judge acts on a pending defense motion for a new trial, based on a claim of juror bias.

As federal criminal prosecutions go, the Stone case has been far more dramatic than most. It was, after all, just last week when prosecutors filed a sentencing memo with the court, prompting Donald Trump to tweet, "Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!"

Soon after, Attorney General Bill Barr's Justice Department intervened in the case and rejected its own prosecutors' sentencing memo. Soon after, four prosecutors resigned, touching off crisis conditions for federal law enforcement.

Complicating matters, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Crabb, who's now overseeing the case, reportedly shifted the Justice Department's posture again, appearing in court this morning and signaling support anew for the initial prosecutors' filing.

As for Judge Jackson, she spent a fair amount of time this morning reflecting on Stone's guilt, noting, among other things, "He was not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the president. He was prosecuted for covering up for the president."

It's an important detail. Whether the president realizes this or not, what Stone did was lie in defense of Trump.

The next question is whether Stone will soon be rewarded for his crime.

Trump started raising the prospect of a presidential pardon for his longtime associate as far back as December, and asked this week whether he believes Stone deserves a prison sentence, Trump replied, "You're going to see what happens."

Watch this space.