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Appeals court denies Stone's motion to delay prison sentence

A federal appeals court on Friday denied Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneTrump grants clemency to five nonviolent offenders Trump remarks put pressure on Barr DOJ veteran says he's quitting over Barr's 'slavish obedience' to Trump MORE's emergency motion to delay the start of his prison term, a move that came just an hour before President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump admin to announce coronavirus vaccine will be covered under Medicare, Medicaid: report Election officials say they're getting suspicious emails that may be part of malicious attack on voting: report McConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote MORE stepped in to commute his longtime ally's sentence.

A three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Stone's appeal after a federal judge set his reporting date for prison to Tuesday.

The panel said in a brief order that Stone was legally ineligible for a sentencing delay. The ruling was quickly mooted, however, when Trump erased Stone's 40-month prison sentence on Friday.

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A federal judge had rebuffed Stone's request to delay his sentence to September. The right-wing provocateur had cited health concerns that left him susceptible to coronavirus infection.

Stone was facing more than three years in prison after a jury convicted him on charges of lying to Congress and witness tampering stemming from his efforts to serve as a liaison between the 2016 Trump campaign and WikiLeaks.

The Justice Department, after overruling its career prosecutors' recommendation that Stone serve seven to nine years in prison back in February, opposed his appeal for more time before reporting to prison.

Trump had openly toyed with pardoning his former campaign adviser after months of speaking out against the prosecution.

Stone's attorney did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

Updated: 8:16 p.m.