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Pres. Trump commutes longtime friend Roger Stone’s prison sentence

President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of Roger Stone on Friday, just days before he was set to report to prison.
FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2019, file photo, Roger Stone arrives at federal court in Washington.
FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2019, file photo, Roger Stone arrives at federal court in Washington.(AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)
Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 9:01 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of Roger Stone on Friday, just days before he was set to report to prison.

Stone had been sentenced in February to three years and four months in prison for lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. He was set to report to prison by Tuesday.

Stone told The Associated Press that Trump had called him earlier Friday to inform him of the commutation. Stone was celebrating in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with conservative friends and said he had to change rooms because there were “too many people opening bottles of Champagne here.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called Stone a “victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media.”

“Not only was Mr. Stone charged by overzealous prosecutors pursing a case that never should have existed, and arrested in an operation that never should have been approved, but there were also serious questions about the jury in the case,” she said in a statement.

A commutation does not erase Stone’s felony convictions in the same way a pardon would, but it would protect him from serving prison time as a result.

Democrats were angered by Trump’s decision, with House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff calling it “offensive to the rule of law and principles of justice,” and Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez asking, “Is there any power Trump won’t abuse?”

Stone, for his part, had been open about his desire for a pardon or commutation, appealing for the president’s help in a series of Instagram posts in which he maintained that his life could be in jeopardy if imprisoned during a pandemic. He had recently sought to postpone his surrender date by months after getting a brief extension from the judge.

Just before Stone’s sentencing, Trump suggested in a tweet that Stone was being subjected to a different standard than several prominent Democrats. He railed that the conviction “should be thrown out” and called the Justice Department’s initial sentencing recommendation “horrible and very unfair.”

“Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!” he wrote.

Stone was the sixth Trump aide or adviser to have been convicted of charges brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Copyright 2020 WVLT via Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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