Judge Amy Jackson of the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday ordered that Roger Stone’s request to have a two-month delay at the beginning of his sentence would instead be reduced to 14 days. The ruling comes a day after the Department of Justice (DOJ) supported Stone’s request for the two-month extension.
Jackson ordered Stone to begin his prison sentence on July 14 at FCI-Jesup and to remain in home confinement until then. The order reportedly recognizes Stone’s health concerns by allowing some home incarceration but also ultimately denied his request to begin his sentence on September 3. The judge justified this by stating that such a delay, “affords the defendant seventy-five days beyond his original report date.” She also noted that Stone had been convicted in November and remained unincarcerated since that date as a result of pending appeals. Notably, the order is counter to the DOJ’s recently expressed support for a long delay.
Stone is a close friend and advisor to President Donald Trump. After being convicted in November on seven counts of impeding a congressional inquiry that threatened the president, Stone was controversially sentenced to only 40 months in prison instead of the nine years previously requested. The decision prompted outrage over the alleged politicization of the DOJ and its misuse by Trump and Attorney General William Barr. This conflict has only intensified over the last few days after several DOJ officials testified before Congress about alleged politicization throughout the DOJ.
In response to an order from Jackson requesting that the DOJ explain its lack of opposition to Stone’s request for a delay in sentencing, the US attorney’s office for Washington, DC, on Thursday filed a response supporting the request. The DOJ stated that because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is currently DOJ policy:
to not oppose a defendant’s request to extend a voluntary surrender date for up to 60 days, unless the defendant poses an immediate public safety or flight risk. For that reason—and that reason only—the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia does not oppose defendant Roger J. Stone’s request to extend his voluntary surrender date for up to 60 days.
The statement also said that Stone “moved for an extension of the June 30 surrender date on the ground that reporting to prison will increase his risk for contracting COVID-19, which he argues threatens severe illness based on his age and health. They continued by claiming that “At no point since that original designation has the U.S. Attorney’s Office had any role in or attempted to exert any influence over whether BOP should revise the June 30 surrender date,” and that “the Court previously determined by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant does not pose an immediate public safety or flight risk.” They concluded by stating, “To conform with our policy and practice—and for no other reason—the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia does not oppose a 60-day extension.”
Roger Stone and the DOJ have not yet commented on the new start of Stone’s sentence.