President Donald Trump has decided to commute the prison term of his friend Roger Stone, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison as part of the investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 US presidential campaign, said, Friday, July 10, the White House.
Roger Stone's prison sentence, which was convicted in November of congressional lies and witness subordination, was scheduled to start next week.
"Today President Donald J. Trump has ordered executive leniency to commute Roger Stone's unfair sentence," it said in a statement released by the US presidency, adding that this longtime friend of the president , a "victim of the Russian hoax", was now "a free man".
As soon as the conviction was announced, Donald Trump had explained that he wanted to pardon his 67-year-old former collaborator, a sulfurous political adviser known for his colorful style and his Richard Nixon tattoo on the back.
Through his lawyer, who passed on his statement to the media, Roger Stone said he was "incredibly honored" for this presidential "leniency".
An "abuse of power" for Democratic parliamentarians Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney. "No other president has used his leniency for such a clearly personal and self-serving reason," said the chairmen of the House of Representatives' judicial and supervisory commissions.
Roger Stone, who describes himself as "a regular hitman", was found guilty of lying to Congress about his contacts with the organization WikiLeaks about hacked Democrat emails during the campaign. Prosecutors had demonstrated that he lied and intimidated witnesses to protect Donald Trump from embarrassment.
The New York billionaire had notably intervened during the legal proceedings by criticizing, in tweets, the initial recommendations of the prosecutors responsible for investigating this case.
Accused of flouting the principle of the separation of powers and of putting pressure on these prosecutors, he explained that his actions were not reprehensible, denouncing a "very unfair situation" and a "miscarriage of justice".
The prosecutors in charge of the case had recused themselves, and the sentencing recommendation of the Ministry of Justice had gone from a duration of between 7 and 9 years to a sentence of between 3 and 4 years, finally followed by the federal judge who had sentenced Mr. Stone to 40 months in prison.
Donald Trump had praised his Minister of Justice Bill Barr for his intervention, praising him "for taking over a case that was completely out of control".
But the latter, embarrassed because supposed to guarantee the independence and impartiality of the American federal justice, had denied that these comments had an impact on the decision of his services.
The President has already been charged with obstructing justice in the Russian investigation, including dismissing FBI director James Comey, who was investigating foreign interference in the 2016 election, at the start of his term. .
Roger Stone is among the six members of the entourage, more or less close, of the New York billionaire to have been charged or sentenced in the wake of the Russian investigation.
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