Roger Stone Judge Does Not Accept Health Concerns As Rationale To Delay Sentence

Roger Stone, a longtime political adviser and friend to President Donald Trump, speaks during a visit to the Women's Republican Club of Miami.
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Roger Stone is not going to be able to wait two months before he heads off to federal prison. On Monday morning, Judge Amy Berman Jackson unsealed her opinion as to why the Trump ally will have just two weeks to get his affairs in order before he begins his three-year sentence. While he waits to head off to prison, Stone will also have to serve under home confinement. Jackson denied the defense’s motion to delay his reporting date for 60 days, which was not opposed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Stone’s camp had argued that he had underlying health conditions that put his life in added danger amid the coronavirus pandemic. The judge decided that those underlying conditions were “medically controlled,” according to Politico. The prison he’s being sent to has seen no documented cases of the coronavirus since the outbreak began, further convincing Jackson that it would be safe for Stone to begin his sentence.

The judge also said the prosecution has often opposed delaying convicts reporting to prison if they had their underlying conditions under control. She was not swayed by the DOJ’s arguments as to why they were not opposing it this time around.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson listens during a hearing
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Politico reported the ruling by Jackson continues to reflect skepticism from the judge when it comes to the DOJ’s actions. In the opinion, she wrote that she expects to see the department show the flexibility it has in the Stone case in similar situations moving forward. The opinion is also said to add further rationale as to why the judge denied Stone’s motion to delay when he would need to report until September.

The judge was also dubious of how seriously Stone was taking the coronavirus outbreak. A note from his doctor said his health condition called on him to practice as much social distancing and social isolation as possible. Jackson said she felt his responses to her questions about whether or not he was following those orders prior to the request for a sentencing delay seemed to be practiced and rehearsed for her liking.

“Defendant’s response to the Court’s inquiry concerning his personal preventive practices and avoidance of public gatherings in accordance with these directives was vague, carefully parsed, and not reassuring,” Jackson wrote.

Stone was convicted in November of repeatedly lying to House investigators pursuing evidence of his and the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia and any interference in the 2016 U.S. election. He was also convicted on a separate count of attempting to intimidate a witness in that investigation.