The judge in the Roger Stone trial today ordered an emergency phone call involving both the convicted Trump political advisor’s defense lawyers and the prosecution attorneys picked to replace the four career prosecutors who resigned in protest after Attorney General William Barr intervened in the case to fulfill Donald Trump’s wishes.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson scheduled the call for Tuesday, according to an article at Politico. Stone’s sentencing is scheduled for Thursday but may be delayed yet again after his lawyers filed a second motion for a new trial.
Stone, who was convicted on one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering and awaiting sentencing, was facing a sentence recommended by the original prosecutors in the case of seven to nine years and had already had his initial motion for a new trial overturned by the judge using the exact same phony accusations of a biased “deep state” conspiracy behind his indictment and conviction that the president has tried to pass off as true on a regular basis.
The conference call on Tuesday is likely to concern how to proceed with the case going forward and is scheduled to take place on the same day that the Justice Department faces a deadline to respond to Stone’s second petition for a new trial. With a new prosecution team joining the case at the last minute, the DOJ may elect to ask for a postponement of sentencing to allow time for the new prosecutors to get up to speed in the details of the case.
Despite Barr’s intervention and his ordering of the submission of a more lenient sentencing guideline from these new Justice Department prosecutors assigned to the case, Judge Jackson can make the decision to issue whatever sentence she deems appropriate in the case.
That judicial discretion is likely what Stone fears most as he tries to file another motion for a new trial, particularly since the judge — who was forced to issue a gag order preventing the Republican political dirty trickster from using social media after he posted a photo of her with a gunsight’s crosshairs superimposed over the judge’s face — may see fit to ignore the new politically-motivated sentencing guidelines from the Barr contaminated Justice Department and sentence Stone to the statutory maximum sentence as the original prosecutors recommended, given the seriousness of the charges against Stone and his misbehavior during the trial.
Whatever the eventual sentence passed by the judge, you can be certain that Stone will file an appeal in the case and will be looking to the White House for the pardon that Donald Trump has been broadly hinting he will grant through his numerous tweets complaining about the “unfairness” of his friend’s conviction.
With this unprecedented level of intervention in the judicial system by both the president and his eager-to-please attorney general, it’s no surprise that more than 1100 former federal prosecutors have signed an open letter calling for Barr’s resignation.
Original reporting by Josh Gerstein at Politico.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.