Update, Tuesday afternoon: Not long after the president’s late-night Twitter activity, the DOJ slammed its own prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation in the Roger Stone case.
Prosecutors said Roger Stone lied, obstructed, and witness tampered to protect Donald Trump and a jury of Stone’s peers found him guilty on all criminal counts. Prosecutors took into account that criminal conduct plus Stone’s pre-trial conduct and added that up to a rather jarring recommendation: seven to nine years in the slammer.
There’s virtually no way Stone will get a sentence that harsh, but that’s not important right now.
“This is a horrible and very unfair situation,” Trump tweeted after 1 a.m. on Tuesday. “The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!
The president does have a pardon formula (see: “unfair”), and this fits the bill.
“He’s done a great job for the people of Arizona. He’s very strong on borders, very strong on illegal immigration. He is loved in Arizona. I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly.”
“So I am taking this very righteous step, I believe, to correct a wrong that occurred in our history, and to honor a truly legendary boxing champion, legendary athlete, and a person that, when people got to know him, they really liked him and they really thought he was treated unfairly as a human being and unfairly as a champion.”
“[B]ut for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly.”
When considering out loud a pardon of Martha Stewart, Trump said the same thing.
“I think to a certain extent Martha Stewart was harshly and unfairly treated,” he said. “And she used to be my biggest fan in the world … before I became a politician. But that’s OK, I don’t view it that way.”
When Trump floated a Rod Blagojevich pardon in the past he said, “Eighteen years in jail for being stupid and saying things that every other politician, you know, that many other politicians say.” In other words, he’s being treated unfairly.
Blagojevich recently penned an op-ed that was seen as an obvious play for a pardon.
Trump’s similar comments about Paul Manafort’s “unfair” prison sentence led people to believe that maybe a pardon was in the offing there, too. That has not come to pass. For a while, the situation was complicated by state charges, but those are out of the way and the path to a pardon is currently clear.
People, regardless of their politics, unanimously interpreted Trump’s Stone tweet as a telegraphing of a pardon.
It should be noted that Randy Credico, the witness Stone tampered with, recently wrote a letter to the judge asking that Stone get no prison time at all. He told Judge Amy Berman Jackson that he didn’t really believe Stone would ever harm him or his dog Bianca.
Stone is “juvenile,” “insecure,” and a conspiracy theorist, but not someone who should do hard time, Credico argued.
“Roger Stone certainly rubs a lot of people the wrong way, particularly those on the receiving end of his wee hours lowbrow character attacks. Stone enjoys playing adolescent mind games and pulling off juvenile stunts, gags and pranks. He shamelessly invents and promotes outlandish and invidious conspiracy tales,” Credico continued. “But the bottom line is Mr. Stone, at his core, is an insecure person who craves and recklessly pursues attention.”
Credico wrote that prison is “no remedy” for the above.
[Image via Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images]
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