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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Judge wants details on Trump’s commute of Stone’s sentence

With a tight deadline, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson gave the White House a Tuesday deadline for details on Trump's actions.
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Roger Stone arrives at federal court in Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

A federal judge on Monday demanded more information about President Donald Trump’s decision to commute the prison sentence of longtime ally Roger Stone.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered that the parties provide her by Tuesday with a copy of the executive order that commuted Stone’s sentence. She also asked for clarity about the scope of the clemency, including whether it covers just his prison sentence or also the two-year period of supervised release that was part of his sentence.

Trump commuted Stone’s 40-month prison sentence on Friday evening, just days before he was to report to prison. Stone was convicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation with making false statements, tampering with a witness and obstructing lawmakers who were examining Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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 — makes clear the judge still is seeking information and clarity about the clemency, including the actual executive order from the White House.

In a separate case, a federal judge has resisted the Justice Department’s request to dismiss the criminal case against Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, even though Flynn pleaded guilty during Mueller’s investigation to lying to the FBI.

Democrats lambasted Trump’s decision as having undermined the rule of law, and Mueller himself defended the Stone prosecution in a Washington Post opinion piece in which he said Stone “remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.”
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