NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The White House on Friday announced President Donald Trump has commuted the prison sentence of his longtime political adviser Roger Stone.
Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison in February after being found guilty of lying to Congress about WikiLeaks-related matters in the Russian election meddling investigation and witness tampering.
He was set to begin his prison sentence on July 14. However, the president stepped in just days before, saying Stone was a victim of the Russia “hoax.”
In a lengthy statement released by the White House, the president denounced the entire prosecution against Stone and said he has “already suffered greatly” and was “treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case.”
“There was never any collusion between the Trump Campaign, or the Trump Administration, with Russia. Such collusion was never anything other than a fantasy of partisans unable to accept the result of the 2016 election,” the statement read. “The collusion delusion spawned endless and farcical investigations, conducted at great taxpayer expense, looking for evidence that did not exist.”
The White house insisted the charges brought against Stone “were the product of recklessness borne of frustration and malice.”
While a commutation does not erase Stone’s felony convictions in the same way a pardon would, it does protect him from serving time in prison.
The president’s Grant of Clemency comes just days after a federal appeals court denied a final effort by Stone to delay an order that required him to surrender to a federal prison in Jesup, Georgia.
While the statement from the White House does not insist Stone was innocent, it did argue Stone should have never been pursued in the Russian investigation.
“The simple fact is that if the special counsel had not been pursuing an absolutely baseless investigation, Mr. Stone would not be facing time in prison,” the White House wrote.
The statement also heavily criticized the way Stone was placed under arrest during a raid at his Florida home.
“Mr. Stone is a 67-year-old man, with numerous medical conditions, who had never been convicted of another crime. But rather than allow him to surrender himself, they used dozens of FBI agents with automatic weapons and tactical equipment, armored vehicles, and an amphibious unit to execute a pre-dawn raid of his home, where he was with his wife of many years,” the White House said.
Additionally, the president noted that, given him age, Stone would likely be at “serious medial risk in prison” as coronavirus still poses a threat to many inmates, especially in states that are seeing a surge in new cases.
President Trump had previously injected himself in the case and wrote on Twitter last month that he would likely be granting Stone clemency.
“Roger was a victim of a corrupt and illegal Witch Hunt, one which will go down as the greatest political crime in history. He can sleep well at night!” Trump wrote in his post.
During the trial, Trump also angrily tweeted about the prosecutors’ handling of the case, leading the Department of Justice to lower its recommendation to the judge that Stone serve seven to nine years in prison.
Read the full statement from The White House below:
Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Grant of Clemency commuting the unjust senence of Roger Stone, Jr.
Roger Stone is a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency. There was never any collusion between the Trump Campaign, or the Trump Administration, with Russia. Such collusion was never anything other than a fantasy of partisans unable to accept the result of the 2016 election. The collusion delusion spawned endless and farcical investigations, conducted at great taxpayer expense, looking for evidence that did not exist. As it became clear that these witch hunts would never bear fruit, the Special Counsel’s Office resorted to process-based charges leveled at high-profile people in an attempt to manufacture the false impression of criminality lurking below the surface. These charges were the product of recklessness borne of frustration and malice.
This is why the out-of-control Mueller prosecutors, desperate for splashy headlines to compensate for a failed investigation, set their sights on Mr. Stone. Roger Stone is well known for his nearly 50 years of work as a consultant for high-profile Republican politicians, including President Ronald Reagan, Senator Bob Dole, and many others. He is also well known for his outspoken support for President Donald J. Trump and opposition to Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Stone was charged by the same prosecutors from the Mueller Investigation tasked with finding evidence of collusion with Russia. Because no such evidence exists, however, they could not charge him for any collusion-related crime. Instead, they charged him for his conduct during their investigation. The simple fact is that if the Special Counsel had not been pursuing an absolutely baseless investigation, Mr. Stone would not be facing time in prison.
In addition to charging Mr. Stone with alleged crimes arising solely from their own improper investigation, the Mueller prosecutors also took pains to make a public and shameful spectacle of his arrest. Mr. Stone is a 67-year-old man, with numerous medical conditions, who had never been convicted of another crime. But rather than allow him to surrender himself, they used dozens of FBI agents with automatic weapons and tactical equipment, armored vehicles, and an amphibious unit to execute a pre-dawn raid of his home, where he was with his wife of many years. Notably, CNN cameras were present to broadcast these events live to the world, even though they swore they were not notified—it was just a coincidence that they were there together with the FBI early in the morning.
Not only was Mr. Stone charged by overzealous prosecutors pursing a case that never should have existed, and arrested in an operation that never should have been approved, but there were also serious questions about the jury in the case. The forewoman of his jury, for example, concealed the fact that she is a member of the so-called liberal “resistance” to the Trump Presidency. In now-deleted tweets, this activist-juror vividly and openly attacked President Trump and his supporters.
Mr. Stone would be put at serious medical risk in prison. He has appealed his conviction and is seeking a new trial. He maintains his innocence and has stated that he expects to be fully exonerated by the justice system. Mr. Stone, like every American, deserves a fair trial and every opportunity to vindicate himself before the courts. The President does not wish to interfere with his efforts to do so. At this time, however, and particularly in light of the egregious facts and circumstances surrounding his unfair prosecution, arrest, and trial, the President has determined to commute his sentence. Roger Stone has already suffered greatly. He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!