Speed Reads

Mueller's Shadow

Federal prosecutors seek 7-9 years in prison for Roger Stone

Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., asked Monday evening that Roger Stone be sentenced to 7 to 9 years in prison for his November conviction on lying, obstruction of justice, and witness-tampering charges. Stone was the sixth adviser or aide to President Trump convicted on charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Trump's campaign and Russian election interference. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson could hand Stone, 67, to up to 50 years in prison at his Feb. 20 sentencing hearing, but federal judges typically follow sentencing guidelines and recommendations.

Prosecutors argued in their sentencing memorandum that sending Stone to prison for at least 87 weeks would serve as a deterrence to others who might consider lying to Congress, obstruction a federal investigation, or tampering with and threatening witnesses. Stone "decided to double — and triple — down on his criminal conduct by tampering with a witness for months in order to make sure his obstruction would be successful," the prosecutors wrote. "Stone's actions were not a one-off mistake in judgment. Nor were his false statements made in the heat of the moment. They were nowhere close to that."

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington also cited Alexander Hamilton's Federal Paper No. 68 to argue that "foreign election interference is the 'most deadly adversar[y] of republican government,'" and obstructing investigations into foreign election interference, as Stone was convicted of having done, "thus strikes at the very heart of our American democracy." That argument from Justice Department prosecutors "was strikingly similar — in some cases borrowing from the exact passages from the same Constitution-era text — as that lodged by the House's prosecutors during Trump's impeachment trial," Politico points out.

Trump reacted negatively to Stone's jury conviction on all seven counts in November.