Donald Trump on Thursday hinted he is going to pardon Roger Stone, his longtime ally who was convicted of witness tampering and lying to Congress as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.
Trump's hint came in response to a tweet from right-wing agitator Charlie Kirk, who tweeted, "Roger Stone will serve more time in prison than 99% of these rioters destroying America All because he supports Donald Trump. This isn't justice. RT for a full pardon of Roger Stone!"
In response, Trump tweeted, "No. Roger was a victim of a corrupt and illegal Witch Hunt, one which will go down as the greatest political crime in history. He can sleep well at night!"
Stone was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison in February for his crimes.
The Trump administration tried to intervene in the case, recommending leniency for Stone. The move by Attorney General William Barr to get involved in a case against one of Trump's allies caused some members of the Department of Justice to resign in protest.
The judge in the case disputed that Stone was the target of a witch hunt, as both Stone and Trump allege.
"He was not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the president," Judge Amy Berman Jackson said at Stone's sentencing. "He was prosecuted for covering up for the president."
Trump has a habit of pardoning those who support him, even when they do not meet the traditional criteria of pardons. Those criteria include a five-year waiting period, as well as the person taking responsibility for their crimes, according to guidance from the Department of Justice.
For example, Trump pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio — a Trump supporter who was convicted of criminal contempt after he refused to follow a court order to stop racially profiling Latinos — even though Arpaio did not take responsibility for his crimes.
Stone also does not meet the criteria. He was sentenced in February, far short of the five-year waiting period. And he's attacked the judge and the prosecutors on his case rather than admit fault and seek forgiveness.
He is currently scheduled to report to prison on June 30.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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