Judge gives Stone an extra 14 days to report to prison
A federal judge on Friday said Roger Stone can have an extra 14 days before he has to report for his prison sentence after the longtime Republican provocateur asked for a 2-month delay over the coronavirus pandemic.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued the order just four days before he was scheduled to start serving his 3 years and four months in prison. Stone was originally set to begin his sentence in April, but it was delayed due to the pandemic, and he asked for more time because of health concerns.
Jackson ordered Stone to stay in home confinement until he has to report on July 14 in order to prevent him from getting infected before entering the prison.
“This will address the defendant’s stated medical concerns during the current increase of reported cases in Florida, and Broward County in particular, and it will respect and protect the health of other inmates who share defendant’s anxiety over the potential introduction and spread of the virus at this now-unaffected facility,” Jackson said in a brief order.
The judge’s full memorandum opinion explaining the decision was sealed since it addressed Stone’s personal health issues.
Stone earlier this week had asked to be able to report in September and the Department of Justice raised no objections. Jackson appeared wary of the request and demanded that the DOJ explain why it was going along with it after allegations that the Trump administration was giving Stone special treatment.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in D.C. said in a court filing Friday morning that it was following DOJ guidelines not to oppose reasonable prison sentence delays in the midst of the pandemic.
“At no point since that original designation has the U.S. Attorney’s Office had any role in or attempted to exert any influence over whether [the Bureau of Prisons] should revise the June 30 surrender date,” the filing reads.
Stone’s attorney did not immediately respond when asked for comment.
The case has been politically fraught since February when the DOJ overruled a recommendation from career prosecutors that Stone serve seven to nine years in prison following his conviction of obstruction and witness tampering charges.
The move prompted the prosecutors to withdraw from the case in protest. One of those attorneys earlier this week testified to Congress that Stone had received special treatment because he was an ally of the president.