Trump commutes Roger Stone's sentence

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8:34 p.m. ET, July 10, 2020

Roger Stone's attorney praises Trump's decision, calling it an "act of mercy"

From CNN's Sara Murray

Attorney Grant Smith, left and Roger Stone arrive at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Court House May 30, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Attorney Grant Smith, left and Roger Stone arrive at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Court House May 30, 2019 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/FILE

Roger Stone’s attorney, Grant Smith, applauded President Trump for “this act of mercy.”

“Mr. Stone is incredibly honored that President Trump used his awesome and unique power under the Constitution of the United States for this act of mercy. Mr. and Mrs. Stone appreciate all the consideration the President gave to this matter,” Smith said.

Trump on Friday commuted Stone's prison sentence. Stone, 67, was scheduled to report to a federal prison camp in Georgia on Tuesday. He had pleaded for help from the President in recent weeks, calling his surrender a death sentence because of coronavirus inside the federal prison system.

He was sentenced to serve 40 months in prison in February.

8:12 p.m. ET, July 10, 2020

White House confirms that clemency has been granted to Roger Stone

The White House has confirmed that President Trump has commuted the sentence of Roger Stone, his friend and former political adviser, according to a statement.

Stone "is a victim of the Russia hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency," the White House said in its statement.

The White House claims the charges against Stone "were the product of recklessness borne of frustration and malice."

Some context: Stone was indicted in January 2019 when armed FBI agents arrested him at his Florida home.

The 67-year-old had covered up records that would have revealed he sought to reach WikiLeaks in 2016 to help Trump, lied about the effort when he testified to a Republican-led congressional committee, then threatened another congressional witness, according to the charges brought by Special counsel Robert Mueller and the DC US Attorney's Office.

8:31 p.m. ET, July 10, 2020

What you need to know about the Roger Stone case

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins, Katelyn Polantz and Sara Murray

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump has commuted the sentence for his friend and former political adviser, Roger Stone.

Stone was convicted last year as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. The Justice Department prosecutors explained in court Stone had lied to protect Trump. Trump's knowledge of Stone's efforts to get leaked Democratic documents in 2016 was a major question in the Mueller investigation, that Democrats on Capitol Hill still want to investigate.  

Here's what you need to know about the case:

  • The arrest: Stone, 67, was indicted in January 2019 when armed FBI agents arrested him at his Florida home.
  • The charges: Stone had covered up records that would have revealed he sought to reach WikiLeaks in 2016 to help Trump, lied about the effort when he testified to a Republican-led congressional committee, then threatened another congressional witness, according to the charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller and the DC US Attorney's Office.
  • The trial: Prosecutors argued to a jury that Stone threatened a witness and lied in part to protect the President. The jury agreed, finding Stone guilty of all seven counts he faced.
  • The sentence: Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the DC District Court sentenced him to 40 months in prison in February. He was due to begin that sentence on Tuesday.

8:29 p.m. ET, July 10, 2020

Trump commutes Roger Stone’s prison sentence

From CNN's Shimon Prokupecz, Katelyn Polantz and Sara Murray

Getty Images
Getty Images

President Trump on Friday commuted the prison sentence of his longtime friend Roger Stone, sparing Stone from setting foot in prison following his conviction for lying to Congress in part to protect Trump during the Russia investigation.

Three sources told CNN that Trump called Stone Friday and the two had a brief conversation. Trump told him he was commuting his sentence and Stone thanked him. The call lasted a few minutes, sources said.

Stone, 67, was scheduled to report to a federal prison camp in Georgia on Tuesday. He had pleaded for help from the President in recent weeks, calling his surrender a death sentence because of coronavirus inside the federal prison system.

Stone is still challenging in an appeals court the fairness of the jury that unanimously found him guilty on seven counts last year. Trump's action on Friday only wipes away Stone's sentence, meaning his felony conviction stands and his appeal may continue on.

Trump’s decision to give clemency to his friend and political adviser is the crescendo of a months-long effort to rewrite the history of the Mueller investigation. This has included selective declassification of intelligence materials, a ramped-up counter-investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, and attempts to drop the case against Michael Flynn.

The President has broad constitutional power to pardon or commute sentences. But Trump is unlike almost any other president in how he's used the power proactively to save political allies.

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