Update: The Department of Justice pushed back on the recommendation, saying it would be reduced and that further information would be released soon, The Washington Post reported.
“That recommendation is not what had been briefed to the department,” A DOJ official told the outlet. “The department finds the recommendation extreme and excessive and disproportionate to Stone’s offenses. The department will clarify its position later today.”
Original Story: Roger Stone may not be the most likeable person in the world, but the sentence prosecutors have recommended for the 67-year-old seems unduly harsh.
Federal prosecutors on Monday recommended Stone, a longtime associate of President Donald Trump, be sentenced to up to nine years in prison for multiple non-violent crimes. Stone was convicted in November on seven charges of lying to Congress and witness tampering.
“Roger Stone obstructed Congress’ investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, lied under oath, and tampered with a witness. And when his crimes were revealed by the indictment in this case, he displayed contempt for this Court and the rule of law. For that, he should be punished in accord with the advisory Guidelines,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo on Monday, CNN reported.
As The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross reported that even though prosecutors linked Stone to Russian election meddling, the former Trump associate “was never charged with working with Russia to influence the 2016 election.”
“Instead, the charges against Stone involved his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee about his interactions with associates regarding the topic of WikiLeaks, which released emails hacked from Democrats in 2016. Prosecutors said that Stone lied when he denied speaking with anyone on the Trump campaign about WikiLeaks,” Ross reported.
While Stone was also convicted on charges of obstructing the House of Representatives’ investigation into Russian meddling, special counsel investigators found no evidence that Stone or any other Trump associate had direct contact with anyone at Wikileaks involved in obtaining and releasing Democrat emails, which ended up hurting then-candidate Hillary Clinton.
Stone’s attorneys argued for a lower sentence of 15 to 21 months in prison, saying this was more in line with sentencing for his particular crimes.
“In the end, the investigations yielded no evidence of the involvement of any American with the Russian government or any agent operating on its behalf to interfere in the 2016 election. It is also undisputed that Roger Stone had nothing to do with obtaining the compromised emails or providing them to WikiLeaks,” the attorneys argued.
Stone’s defense introduced letters from people, including one from left-wing comedian Randy Credico, whom Stone was convicted of threatening. Credico asked Judge Amy Berman Jackson to sentence Stone to probation, saying he never felt physically threatened by Stone’s texts.
Prosecutors, however, tried to dismiss Credico’s letter.
“Stone may point to the letter submitted by Credico and argue that he did not have a serious plan to harm Credico or that Credico did not seriously believe that Stone would follow through on his threats. But Credico testified that Stone’s threats concerned him because he was worried that Stone’s words, if repeated in public, might make ‘other people get ideas,’” prosecutors countered.
It is unlikely that Stone will be sentenced to nine years, but regardless of his sentence, his conviction alone has led to anger from conservatives who wonder why the people in the government who orchestrated the allegation that Trump and his associates colluded with Russia have not been held accountable. Specifically, people like former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was found to have lied to FBI investigators on multiple occasions, or former CIA Director John Brennan, who appeared to have lied to Congress as well.