Three years, four months. That was the sentence imposed on Roger Stone Thursday by a federal judge. Whether the longtime Trump ally will spend even a minute in prison, however, remains up in the air. Judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down the sentence in the politically charged case, though the 67-year-old Stone will not begin serving any time until the judge considers his request for a new trial. Coverage:
- Pardon? Before the ruling, President Trump tweeted a clip from Tucker Carson's show on Fox News, suggesting that a presidential pardon is under consideration, reports the Washington Post. “President Trump could end this travesty in an instant with a pardon, and there are indications tonight that he will do that,” said Carlson in the clip tweeted by the president, without elaboration.
- More on that: Later Thursday, while speaking before former prisoners graduating from a second-chance program, Trump did not rule out pardoning Stone or commuting his sentence eventually, but he said, "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. 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, but Roger Stone and everybody has to be treated fairly. And this has not been a fair process." He said he thinks Stone, whom he called a "character," "has a very good chance of exoneration," per CNN. He also accused the forewoman of the Stone jury of being an "anti-Trump activist."
- Judge's words: Jackson spent about two hours revisiting the history of the case before announcing her decision. “He was not prosecuted for standing up for the president,” she said in closing, per Politico. “He was prosecuted for covering up for the president.” At another point, she said: "At his core, Mr. Stone is an insecure person who craves and recklessly pursues attention. Nothing about this case was a joke. It wasn’t funny."
- Stone's reaction: He did not visibly react in court, nor did he talk to reporters afterward, reports the AP. Previously, Stone's public comments and social media posts had gotten him in hot water with the judge.
- Background: Stone, a longtime Trump ally, was convicted last year of lying to Congress about WikiLeaks and witness tampering as part of the Robert Mueller investigation. Stone's case became hugely controversial when Attorney General William Barr overruled prosecutors' recommendation for up to 9 years in prison, deeming it too harsh.
- An apology: Prosecutor John Crabb Jr. apologized to the judge over the chaos regarding the sentence recommendation, reports the New York Times. He blamed "miscommunication" between US Attorney Timothy Shea and his Justice Department superiors. At one point, referring to the resignation of the four original prosecutors, Jackson asked him, "Why are you standing here today?"
- The judge: USA Today has a profile of the 65-year-old judge. Trump backers accuse her of bias, but a look at big rulings suggest she has "been friendly and hostile to both sides of the aisle."
(Read more Roger Stone