Longtime GOP operative and former Trump campaign associate was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison on Thursday, after prosecutors' previous efforts to get him a longer sentence became a subject national controversy.
According to Fox News:
Before announcing the sentence in a federal courtroom in Washington, the judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, took a firm stance toward the Republican operative, faulting him for the actions that led to the charges. She sentenced him to 40 months in prison.
"Mr. Stone lied," Jackson said in court. She also said Stone injected himself "smack" into a political controversy and was not "persecuted."
Stone chose not to speak when given the opportunity.
Stone was found guilty in November on seven counts that included lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing a congressional investigation, which stemmed from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. The 67-year-old Stone was indicted in January following a heavily armed pre-dawn FBI raid at his Fort Lauderdale, Florida, home.
"This prosecution is and was righteous," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Crabb said of the case, echoing a comment Attorney General William Barr made about the matter last week. "The defendant was found guilty by a jury of his peers of obstructing justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering. The court should impose a substantial period of incarceration."
According to NBC News, however, Stone will not have to report to prison until the judge decides on the defense's pending motion for a new trial stemming from a claim of juror bias. Last week, it was reported that jury foreman Tomeka Hart was a former Democratic congressional candidate and had a long history of anti-Trump social media posts.
In addition to the concerns about juror bias, the trial was also recently plagued by controversy about the sentencing itself. Last week, all four line prosecutors handling the case resigned after a Department of Justice put out an amended sentencing memo saying that the initial recommendation of seven to nine years "could be considered excessive and unwarranted." That was after President Donald Trump tweeted that the initial recommendation was a "miscarriage of justice."
The department's change of course on the sentencing recommendation generated considerable backlash against Barr, which included over 2,000 former Justice Department officials as well as some congressional Democrats who called for his resignation over concerns of political interference in the process.
Barr said in an interview later that President Trump had "never asked me to do anything in a criminal case" but that his tweets about cases "make it impossible for me to do my job."
"Bill Barr stepped in and stopped what I thought was an unjust sentence enhancement," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in the attorney general's defense on Monday, "and to the people who want Barr to resign, we know your agenda!"