Trump retweets message hinting at Roger Stone pardon: 'He can sleep well at night!'

'Roger was a victim of a corrupt and illegal Witch Hunt, one which will go down as the greatest political crime in history'

Graig Graziosi
Thursday 04 June 2020 20:58 BST
Roger Stone arrives at court ahead of sentencing over obstructing Russia investigation

President Donald Trump hinted at a future pardon for Roger Stone, the conservative political operative known for pushing conspiracy theories, witness tampering and dressing like a steampunk villain.

The nod to Stone - who was arrested in 2019 as part of the Mueller Investigation and charged with witness tampering, obstructing an official proceeding and five counts of making false statements - came on Twitter, when the president responded to a post by Turning Point USA Founder Charlie Kirk.

Mr Kirk - whose organisation has included individuals who've made white supremacist and anti-semitic comments - complained on Twitter that Stone would "serve more time in prison than 99% of these rioters destroying America."

Mr Kirk's reference to "rioters" is to the series of protests responding to the murder of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officers.

The president shared Mr Kirk's tweet and suggested that Stone was a victim of corruption and was unfairly targeted.

"No. Roger was a victim of a corrupt and illegal Witch Hunt, one which will go down as the greatest political crime in history," Mr Trump wrote. "He can sleep well at night!"

Federal prosecutors recommended that Stone be imprisoned for seven to nine years for his charges, which Mr Trump called "horrible and very unfair."

Following Mr Trump's intervention, the US Justice Department amended its sentencing recommendation and changed its filing. Under the new filing, Stone was sentenced to no specific prison term. The move prompted all four of the attorneys involved in Stone's prosecution to resign or leave the case.

Attorney General William Barr became the subject of a letter signed by around 2,000 former Justice Department officials calling on him to resign over his treatment of the Stone and Michael Flynn cases.

Regarding Flynn - who pleaded guilty twice to lying to federal officials in connection with the Mueller investigation - the US Justice Department announced that his charges would be dropped last May.

Mr Trump's list of pardons includes - but is not limited to - Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of being in contempt of court for refusing to curb the department's racial profiling practices; Scooter Libby, who went to jail after revealing the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame; Dinesh D'Souza, a disgraced political commentator who went to prison for making illegal campaign contributions and Dwight and Steven Hammond, who were imprisoned for arson on federal land that eventually led to the occupation of a federal nature refuge by the Bundy family.

While most of Mr Trump's pardons have been signals to his base and to the Republican establishment to curry their favour, he also pardoned the legendary black boxer Jack Johnson, who was accused in 1912 of violating the Mann Act, also known as the "White-Slave Traffic Act." The act was used most frequently for punishing black men for having relationships with white women.

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