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Stone to be treated like any other felon in pandemic, judge says

Erik Larson, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- The judge who sentenced Roger Stone to 40 months behind bars for lying to Congress said the Republican operative who sought three delays in starting his prison term is a criminal and should be treated like one.

In a memo unsealed Monday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington balked at the government's explanation for not challenging Stone's request for a delay of two more months because of the coronavirus pandemic, saying it didn't add up.

Over the weekend, Jackson issued a sealed decision that extended Stone's surrender date by two weeks instead, and ordered Stone confined to his home during that time. Stone on Monday agreed to let Jackson unseal the decision. In it, she notes that the medium-security facility in Georgia where he will serve his time doesn't currently have an outbreak.

"At the end of the day, the guiding principle must be that Mr. Stone is entitled to no more and no less consideration than any other similarly situated convicted felon," Jackson wrote of the longtime ally of President Donald Trump.

The government didn't oppose Stone's request for a two-month extension, which cites his age and underlying medical conditions that could put him at greater risk if he contracted the virus. Jackson noted that in similar cases the Justice Department has opposed so-called compassionate release from jails during the pandemic where there isn't yet an outbreak.

The request by Stone, 67, came as a federal prosecutor testified to Congress that there was improper political influence when Justice Department top brass intervened to recommend a shorter sentence for Stone than was suggested by the prosecutors on the case.

 

Stone, whose new surrender date is July 14, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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