On a Friday night, Donald Trump has taken another political gamble. The president has commuted the prison sentence of his longtime friend Roger Stone on seven felony crimes. Trump has maintained that Stone was persecuted and treated unfairly.
Stone was due to begin his sentence next Tuesday in Georgia. He had sought to delay his reporting date due to concerns over the coronavirus.
A jury found Stone guilty of lying to Congress and witness tampering. He was due to spend more than three years behind bars. CNN writes:
“Stone, 67, was indicted in January 2019 when armed FBI agents arrested him at his Florida home. He 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.Trump and Stone have tried to cast his prosecution and conviction as a politically motivated witch hunt. But 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.”
Some Trump advisers are concerned that a commutation of Stone’s sentence or a pardon could further hurt the president in the polls.