A federal judge on Friday partially approved Roger Stone’s motion to postpone the date when he has to report to prison, giving the longtime ally of President Donald Trump an additional two weeks and a total of 75 days beyond his original report date on grounds of the danger to inmates from the COVID-19 pandemic.
An order from U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, published by Courthouse News (pdf), shows that Stone now must report to prison on July 14.
“This will address the defendant’s stated medical concerns during the current increase of reported cases in Florida, and Broward County in particular, and it will respect and protect the health of other inmates who share defendant’s anxiety over the potential introduction and spread of the virus at this now-unaffected facility,” Jackson wrote in the order.
Stone asked for a delay through Sept. 3 “in light of his heightened risk of serious medical consequences from exposure to the COVID-19 virus in the close confines of a BOP facility,” according to a motion (pdf) filed on June 23.
A federal jury convicted Stone on charges including obstruction, witness tampering, and lying to a congressional committee that was investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Stone was sentenced on Feb. 20 to three years and four months in a federal facility, which according to a message Stone posted on Instagram, “is known to have a substantial presence of coronavirus.”
He announced in a post on Facebook last week that he was going to court to try and delay the start of his sentence in what he called a “COVID-19 infested prison.” He said the consequence of his being forced to serve time in a facility with a known presence of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, was tantamount to a “death sentence.”
The danger posed by the deadly bug to the U.S. prison population led Attorney General William Barr to call on the Bureau of Prisons to expand the use of home confinement for older inmates at higher risk of infection. The virus affects the elderly and those with underlying respiratory conditions far more seriously.
“At 67 years old and with a history of asthma this is a certain death sentence,” Stone wrote in a post on Instagram.
There has been widespread speculation that Stone may be in line for a presidential pardon. President Donald Trump on Friday retweeted a post by social and political commentator Lori Hendry calling for Stone to be pardoned.
While the president said in February that he wouldn’t be pardoning Stone, he seemed to leave open the possibility for a later time. “I’m not going to do anything in terms of the great powers bestowed upon a president of the United States, I want the process play out, I think that’s the best thing to do,” Trump said at a “Hope for Prisoners” graduation ceremony in Las Vegas in February. “Because I’d love to see Roger exonerated and I’d love to see it happen because I personally think he was treated very unfairly.”
“At some point I’ll make a determination,” Trump said, “but Roger Stone and everybody has to be treated fairly. And this has not been a fair process.”
In an interview with “The Sara Carter Show” Thursday, Stone asked Trump for a commutation of what he called his “deep state sentence.”
“At the end of the day, I think it’s going to be in the president’s lap that he is the only one who can save me, and I’m just praying fervently that he will do the right thing,” Stone told Carter. “Based on his tweets, he knows that I have been subjected to a miscarriage of justice.”
“Please, Mr. President, I’m going to need your help,” Stone said. “I’m praying fervently for it.”