Roger Stone Asks Appeals Court to Delay the Start of His Prison Sentence

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
July 7, 2020Updated: July 9, 2020

Roger Stone, a former political adviser to President Donald Trump, is lodging a last-ditch effort to delay the start of his prison sentence by asking a federal appeals court to further postpone when he has to report to prison for another 51 days.

In a court filing to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, Stone’s attorneys requested an emergency stay on a lower court’s ruling that puts him under home confinement in his Fort Lauderdale home and orders him to report to prison on July 14. The attorneys are also asking the court to grant their request to allow Stone to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons custody on Sept. 3.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said in her order on June 26, partly granting Stone’s request to postpone his surrender date, that the July 14 date affords Stone 75 days beyond his original reporting date. Jackson says that the court’s accommodations would address Stone’s medical concerns amid the spike in cases of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the disease COVID-19.

Stone’s attorneys 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 latest number provided to Stone’s attorneys.

Federal prosecutors, in this case, do not oppose Stone’s request to extend his surrender date and agree to a brief delay to allow the D.C. Circuit court to consider the matter, but the prosecutors have told Stone’s attorneys that they intend to defend the lower court’s decision.

His attorneys also ask the court to reinstate Stone’s bail conditions to before the June 26 order and to decide on the emergency request on or before July 13.

Stone was sentenced on Feb. 20 to three years 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.

In a statement on social media on Monday, Stone said he recognizes that the chances of his bid in the appeals court being unsuccessful would be “overwhelming” but he was determined to pursue every option in the legal system, including calling on Trump to grant him a pardon.

“I recognize that the chances are overwhelming that the appeals court will remand the matter back to Judge Jackson but it is vitally important that 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,” he wrote.

There has been widespread speculation that Stone may be in line for a presidential pardon. Trump on July 3 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, Nevada, 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.”

Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.

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