After the Justice Department recommended last week that Judge Amy Berman Jackson lighten Roger Stone’s sentence, it seems he got just that—a sentence much shorter than the initial seven to nine years that was initially proposed. Roger J. Stone Jr. was officially sentenced to 40 months in prison, 24 months probation, and fined $20,000 on Thursday, February 20, 2020, for “lying to Congress and threatening a witness regarding his efforts for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign” [Source: CNN]. Although Stone was sentenced for the crimes he was convicted of committing, CNN says he will not yet be detained.
In fact, “he is still challenging his conviction by claiming juror misconduct,” says the news source.
President Trump Supports Stone’s Request for a New Trial
President Trump, despite being asked to refrain from commenting on the case involving his longtime friend and ally, described the jury’s foreperson, Tomeka Hart, as being someone who is “totally tainted” and an “anti-Trump activist.” Although CNN says Trump has not provided any evidence to support his claims, he believes she “wasn’t honest when she answered questions during jury selection.” Trump also said “Now I don’t know if this is a fact, but she had a horrible social media account. The things she said on the account were unbelievable.”
Hart, who ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2012 but lost to Rep. Steve Cohen, was called out for comments that were allegedly posted from her social media accounts. CNN shared one comment from a Twitter account that is said to belong to Hart that stated, “stop being racists,” and it was aimed at Trump supporters. She also allegedly posted a comment from her Facebook page just after the four prosecutors assigned to Roger Stone’s case stepped down.
In that post, she said “I want to stand up for Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed, Michael Marando, and Jonathan Kravis — the prosecutors on the Roger Stone trial. It pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors. They acted with the utmost intelligence, integrity, and respect for our system of justice.” Now that claims have been made accusing the jury’s foreperson of being biased toward the President, it is up to Stone and his criminal defense attorneys to “further explain his request to the court by Monday,” says CNN.
What is the likelihood of Stone getting a new trial?
Despite the request, CNN says “the odds of Stone getting a new trial may be steep because of the steps the court took to vet the 12 jurors who determined his guilt.” While there has been some talk about Trump pardoning Stone, the President has yet to make any additional comments implying that he is considering doing so. For now, the President says he is just going to watch and see how things play out.