US President Donald Trump's close ally and a Republican operative, Roger Stone, was sentenced to over three years (40 months) imprisonment for preventing the Congress from investigating into Trump's campaign's alleged links with Russia on Thursday, February 20. The judge called it a "threat to our most fundamental institutions, to the very foundation of our democracy".
Roger Stone jailed for 40 months
The prison-term is less than what prosecutors sought for Stone, who was convicted in November on seven charges, including lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into Russian involvement in Trump's campaign. "The dismay and disgust at the defendant's belligerence should transcend party," Judge Amy Berman Jackson said while pronouncing her judgement. "The truth still exists". The truth still matters," she added.
The sentencing went forward, despite Stone's defence team's attempt to seek a new trial. Though no judgement has been pronounced on the issue, he'll not have to report to jail, until the court decides upon the issue. On the accusation that Stone was being punished for defending Trump, Jackson replied, he wasn't prosecuted "for standing up for the president" but for "covering up for the president", Guardian reported.
Roger Stone is the sixth Trump aide to be convicted on charges linked to the Justice Department's investigation on Russian links with the Trump campaign.
Donald Trump's support for Roger Stone
In a tweet on Tuesday, Trump quoted Fox News journalist, Andrew Napolitano, alleging bias on part of the jury. He shared other Fox News pieces to imply that Roger Stone's prosecution was political, rather than criminal in nature. At one point, the attorney general, William Barr said that the president's online commentary about politically sensitive investigations made it "impossible" for him to do his job.
What's next for Roger Stone?
Kristin Davis, spokeswoman for Roger Stone, sought pardon for Stone. "It falls on President Trump to use the power of a pardon as the final means of checks and balances to right this horrible wrong," she said. The US President has granted 11 high-profile pardons, earlier this week, but held Stone's, in order to see how the events pan out.
"I'm not going to do anything in terms of the great powers bestowed upon a president of the United States", Trump said in Las Vegas. "I want the process to play out. I think that's the best thing to do because I would love to see Roger exonerated", he said. California Democrat, Adam Schiff, called Trump pardoning Stone, a "breathtaking act of corruption".