The Justice Department has told a federal appeals court that it supports a lower court’s decision that orders Roger Stone, a former political adviser to President Donald Trump, to start his prison sentence on July 14.
The department’s attorneys wrote in a court filing on Thursday that while they did not oppose Stone’s request to push back the date of his self-surrender, it supported a district court’s decision to require Stone to report to prison next week.
“[T]he district court’s independent decision to extend appellant’s self-surrender date for 14 days is a reasonable exercise of that court’s discretion based on the totality of the factual and legal circumstances, particularly given appellant’s failure to satisfy the statutory requirements for his continued release pending appeal,” the lawyers wrote in their filing.
Stone’s attorneys on Tuesday filed an emergency request to block the district court’s ruling that puts him under home confinement in his Fort Lauderdale home and orders him to report to prison on July 14.
They argue that the 67-year-old suffers from undisclosed medical issues that would leave him vulnerable in the prison system amid the CCP virus pandemic. FCI Jesup, the prison complex where Stone is designated to serve his term, reported that five staff members have tested positive for the virus and six inmates have “tested COVID-19 positive and are awaiting confirmation,” according to the latest number provided to Stone’s attorneys.
His attorneys asked the appeals court to grant their request to allow Stone to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons custody on Sept. 3.
Responding to the request, the department lawyers argued that Stone failed to demonstrate adequate reasoning that would afford him differential treatment with other convicted prisons and keep him out of prison at this time.
Stone had previously said on social media that he recognizes that “the chances are overwhelming that the appeals court will remand the matter back to Judge Jackson” but that he was determined to pursue every option in the legal system so “the American people see all of the false claims in her most recent ruling and I want the president to know that I have, in good faith, exhausted all of my legal remedies and that an only an act of clemency by the Presideny [sic] will provide Justice in my case.”
Trump had previously criticized the court’s handling of Stone’s case, fueling speculation that he may pardon or commute the sentence for his former longtime associate. He had previously shared a tweet posted by social and political commentator Lori Hendry saying, “IT’S TIME TO #PardonRogerStone.”
Attorney General William Barr said on Wednesday that he thought the Judge’s sentencing of Stone was appropriate.
“I think the prosecution was righteous and I think the sentence the judge ultimately gave was fair,” Barr said in an interview with ABC News.
Barr also weighed in on the speculation that Trump might intervene in the case, saying that it was the “the president’s prerogative.”
“It’s a unique power that the president has. And it’s certainly something that is committed to his judgment. But as I say, I felt it was an appropriate prosecution and I thought the sentence was fair,” he said.
Stone was sentenced on Feb. 20 to three years and four months in prison. He was convicted in November 2019 on all seven counts he was charged with, including obstruction, witness tampering, and making false statements to Congress.