Roger Stone will still be sentenced Thursday, a federal judge said Tuesday, amid a tumultuous week that saw President Donald Trump suggest she is biased and several prosecutors quit his case after Justice Department leadership rescinded their initial sentencing recommendation.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson will still give Stone time to make challenges in his case after he is sentenced. That means that even if the judge sentences him to jail this week, he won’t be detained right away.
Stone was convicted last year on seven charges of obstruction, lying to Congress and witness tampering, but has asked for a new trial.
“I think that delaying this sentence would not be a prudent thing to do given all the circumstances,” Jackson said during a phone call with prosecutors and Stone’s team on Tuesday.
“There’s been a lot of work that’s gone into the sentencing on behalf of all the parties,” the judge added.
Jackson didn’t comment at the 15-minute hearing on the prosecutor withdrawals or political furor over the case. She has been silent on recent developments in the case since the prosecutors quit and Trump accused her of bias.
Two supervising prosecutors from the DC US Attorney’s Office, who stepped in after their colleagues quit the case a week ago, advocated to keep the sentencing as planned for this week. Stone’s legal team, however, asked the judge first to resolve a last-minute request for a new trial, meaning she may have needed to push the sentencing back.
But, the judge decided she’ll consider Stone’s retrial request on a separate schedule. Stone’s new trial request is still under seal, after he filed it Friday, though more details about it are set to be made public on Tuesday.
Jackson said she wanted to handle the new trial request “expeditiously” but not in a rushed fashion.
The hearing came one week after the four prosecutors who took Stone’s case to trial argued he should be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison. All four prosecutors withdrew from the case last Tuesday in response to the controversial and politically charged decision by Attorney General William Barr to retract the prosecutors’ recommended sentence, which came hours after Trump criticized it on Twitter for being too harsh.
One supervising prosecutor from the DC US Attorney’s Office, John Crabb, Jr., stepped up to file the revised Justice Department recommendation – which takes no position on Stone’s deserved prison time, and instead argues it should not be as severe as seven years but is up to the judge.
Another DC-based prosecutor, J.P. Cooney, also announced he was working on the case on Tuesday.
Since the prosecutor debacle, which has shaken current and former attorneys across the Justice Department, the jury forewoman from Stone’s trial publicly defended the four prosecutors. Right-wing commentators then accused her of bias against Trump.
The President has tweeted about Stone and the jury foreperson several times since the Justice Department’s original prison recommendation came in.
“Is this the Judge that put Paul Manafort in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, something that not even mobster Al Capone had to endure? How did she treat Crooked Hillary Clinton? Just asking!” Trump tweeted last week.
Manafort was never held in solitary confinement and Jackson didn’t control the conditions of his detainment when she sent him to jail in June 2018.
The chief judge over the court on which Jackson sits issued a rare public statement last week following the Stone backlash. “Public criticism or pressure is not a factor” when judges sentence defendants, DC District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell said.
Stone is asking for no prison time. He has already lost one bid for a new trial after he challenged a juror for his or her employment with the IRS and for reading about his case in the news.
This story has been updated with additional details about the hearing.