US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson demanded more information concerning President Trump’s decision to commute the prison sentence of Roger Stone – a longtime ally who avoided a 40-months in prison sentence for making false statements to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team during the Russia investigation.
According to AP, Berman Jackson ordered the parties to provide her a copy of Trump’s executive order commuting Stone’s sentence, as well as clarity for the scope of the clemency – including whether Stone’s two-year supervised release is covered by the decision.
To answer Berman Jackson’s question, Trump commuted “the entirety of the two-year term of supervised release with all its conditions.”
The president told reporters on Monday that he was getting “rave reviews” for his action on Stone and restated his position that the Russia investigation “should have never taken place.”
Democrats lambasted Trump’s decision as having undermined the rule of law, and Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the only Republican to vote to convict the president during his impeachment trial, called the clemency decision “unprecedented, historic corruption.” Mueller himself defended the Stone prosecution in a Washington Post opinion piece in which he said Stone “remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.”
Although presidents have broad authority to commute prison sentences and issue pardons, the brief order from Jackson — who presided over Stone’s trial last year — made clear that the judge still is seeking information and clarity about the clemency, including the actual executive order from the White House. -AP (via WTOP)
The order was entered into the docket several hours later.
Meanwhile, CNBC reports that President Trump on Monday did not rule out pardoning Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser, depending on how his case goes.
To review, after evidence that the FBI was running a ‘perjury trap’ on Flynn regarding his communications with the former Russian ambassador during the post-election transition, the DOJ asked the court to throw out his conviction.
Judge Emmet Sullivan denied the request, and instead hired a third-party attorney to justify his decision.
After a federal appeals court panel of three judges ruled against Sullivan – ordering him to dismiss the case, Sullivan requested a full panel, ‘en banc’ review.
“As I have said from the inception of my representation, the government has long withheld evidence of Mr. Flynn’s innocence,” said Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell.
“The FBI and [special counsel’s office] made up this prosecution and coerced his plea by multiple means. The result for which we have steadfastly and relentlessly worked is his complete exoneration by the Department of Justice and the judicial system.”