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Longtime Republican operative and ally to Preisdent Donald Trump Roger Stone on Thursday was sentenced to 40 months in prison by D.C. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson for impeding a Congressional investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Despite claims by Stone and his defenders in the conservative movement and establishment that the GOP fixer was acting to protect himself from attacks, Jackson said, the reality was that Stone's predicament was one of his own creation.
"This case did not arise because Roger Stone was being pursued by his political enemies," said Jackson. "It arose because Roger Stone characteristically injected himself smack into the middle of one of the most significant issues of the day."
"At his core, Mr. Stone is an insecure person who craves and recklessly pursues attention," Jackson added. "Nothing about this case was a joke. It wasn't funny."
As Reuters reported, Stone's attorneys took a different view:
Stone's attorney, Seth Ginsberg, said Stone’s career as a self-described "dirty trickster" overshadowed other aspects of a spiritual man with no prior criminal record who has served as a mentor, loves animals, and is devoted to his family.
In her remarks, Jackson also brought up an instance when Stone issued a series of threats to witness Randy Credico, including a dire warning about Credico's dog. threatened
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"All of it culminated in the threats to the dog and 'prepare to die,'" said Jackson.
Stone was found guilty of seven charges—obstruction, witness tampering, and five counts of lying to Congress—on November 15, 2019.
Speculation that Trump will pardon or commute Stone has run rampant ever since the president appeared to intervene in the case via tweet on February 11 disapproving of the recommended sentence for Stone of seven to nine years from federal prosecutors. As Common Dreams reported, Attorney General William Barr then retracted the sentencing recommendation and reportedly pressured the prosecutors to issue a new sentencing memo asking for far less time on February 12.
According to the New York Times, Jackson is used to the attention after over a year-and-a-half in the spotlight:
Judge Jackson's rulings in the past 20 months have generated such wall-to-wall news coverage that some of her fellow jurists are said to be quietly envious of her celebrity. Among other headline-making decisions: She revoked Mr. Manafort's bail and ordered him to await trial in a local jail; imposed a limited gag order against Mr. Stone and then vastly broadened it after he threatened her on social media; sentenced Mr. Manafort to three and a half years in prison; oversaw the trials of Mr. Stone and Mr. Craig; and refused to grant Mr. Gates' probation despite the pleas of both the prosecutors and the defense lawyers.
Yet, Politico reported Thursday morning, Trump commuting Stone's sentence or pardoning him outright seems inevitable to those in the president's orbit.
"It's not a question of if," one former White House official who remains close to the president said. "It's when."