DOJ: Tuesday prison start date for Stone 'reasonable'

DOJ: Tuesday prison start date for Stone 'reasonable'
© Bonnie Cash

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a court filing Thursday that it supports GOP operative and Trump ally Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneNew HBO documentary lets Gaetz, Massie, Buck offer their take on how to 'drain the swamp' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Brawls on Capitol Hill on Barr and COVID-19 Democrats blister Barr during tense hearing MORE starting his jail sentence next week.

DOJ, which has caught flak from critics who accuse it of being soft on Stone, wrote that the July 14 start of his prison sentence set by a judge is “a reasonable exercise of that court's discretion based on the totality of the factual and legal circumstances.”

Stone has asked an appeals court to delay his 40-month prison sentence, citing his age and concerns regarding several coronavirus cases reported in the Georgia facility where he is set to serve his sentence. 

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The DOJ wrote that Stone failed to provide adequate reasoning as to why he should be treated differently from other convicted felons.

The DOJ’s court filing means Stone, 67, may need to turn directly to President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE, who has criticized the court’s handling of Stone’s case. 

Stone has flooded the internet with pleas for a presidential pardon.

Trump has argued that Stone's sentencing was an unfair punishment stemming from former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s investigation. Trump tweeted early last month that Stone “can sleep well at night” after a Stone supporter tweeted about a pardon.

Stone's sentence, which was supposed to start on June 30, was already delayed after more than a dozen prisoners tested positive for the coronavirus.

Stone was found guilty in 2019 of obstructing a congressional probe into Russia's interference in the presidential election and witness tampering. He was sentenced to more than three years in prison. He has denied wrongdoing and maintained that he is innocent.