Donald Trump launched a fresh assault on the prosecution of Roger Stone minutes after the judge began sentencing the veteran dirty trickster for lying to Congress.
The president defied his attorney general Bill Barr’s plea to ‘stop tweeting’ to accuse the prosecution of being unfair and launch a spree of attacks against his enemies.
'”They say Roger Stone lied to Congress.” OH, I see, but so did Comey (and he also leaked classified information, for which almost everyone, other than Crooked Hillary Clinton, goes to jail for a long time), and so did Andy McCabe, who also lied to the FBI! FAIRNESS?’ the president tweeted.
Trump has repeatedly accused Comey of lying to Congress, over the opening of the counter-intelligence investigation into members of his campaign over their alleged links to Russia.
Trump’s tweets have plunged his own attorney general, Bill Barr, into a crisis over the rule of law, with the president declaring himself the ‘chief law enforcement officer,’ and demanding Barr ‘clean house.’
The tweet was issued just over an hour after Stone arrived in court in Washington D.C. to be sentenced – and as Department of Justice attorneys called the prosecution ‘righteous,’ apparently in a gesture of defiance at Trump.
Stone was joined by a vast entourage led by his wife Nydia as he walked into the federal court, where his legal team has been bolstered by a Mafia lawyer who helped keep John Gotti Jr., son of the Teflon don, out of prison.
Pro-Stone demonstrators brought a ‘pardon Roger stone’ banner which they held behind him when he arrived while counter-protesters tried to hurriedly erect an inflatable effigy of Donald Trump as a rat as Stone arrived – and some shouted ‘traitor.’
He’s here: Roger Stone was accompanied by his wife Nydia and an almost 20-strong entourage as he arrived at federal court in Washington D.C. to be sentenced
In front of the protest: Roger and Nydia Stone walked past the inflatable Trump rat as they made their way into court
Grin and bear it: Roger Stone kept a fixed smile as he headed into court with his wife Nydia on his arm
Raised a smile: Roger Stone’s wife Nydia reacted positively to a group of supporters’ banner calling for Donald Trump to issue the dirty trickster with a pardon
Arm-in-arm: Roger Stone wore a navy blue double-breasted topcoat with contrasting collar, blue cutaway collared shirt and sober gray tie, topped off with a black trilby as he arrived in court with Nydia, his second wife
In he goes: Roger Stone took off his trilby to enter court, where he will be sentenced
Acknowledgment: Roger Stone gave a salute to supporters outside court
Tailored: Roger Stone revealed he is wearing a double-breasted dark gray chalk stripe suit under his navy blue double-breasted overcoat as he got out of his car before going into court
Stone’s sentencing got off to a rocky start when U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said that anyone in the court who did not have a medical reason to wear sunglasses should remove them. Stone had arrived in round sunglasses.
She started the hearing without making any reference to the massive political storm over the case – and instead plunged into the details of his convictions.
However she made clear that she is not considering leniency for him.
And prosecutors then ignored their own boss, the attorney general Bill Barr, to say that an earlier call for a nine-year sentence still applied.
Barr overruled that but when John Crabb, the assistant U.S. attorney put in charge of the case after all the other prosecutors quit, appeared in court, he said that the call applied.
He also called the prosecution ‘righteous,’ and said the Department of Justice was committed to working ‘without fear or favor or political influence.’
That appeared to be a direct rebuke of the president- and was followed by Crabb saying the prosecution wanted a substantial sentence for Stone.
Berman Jackson tussled with both sides over the details of their sentencing recommendations, and said that she believed that attempts to brush off the dirty trickster’s conduct as ‘banter’ and ‘Stone being Stone’ were wrong – a sign that he is unlikely to escape a prison sentence.
Stone himself declined to speak on his own behalf.
But the longtime Trump ally and political dirty trickster is unlikely to see the inside of a federal prison cell – at least for now.
Stone swerved the immediate threat of incarceration this week when Berman Jackson said she would postpone punishment while she decides whether the veteran GOP schemer deserves a retrial.
Demand: Supporters of the disgraced dirty trickster unfurled a ‘pardon Roger Stone’ banner outside court, echoing a demand which Donald Trump says he has not considered
Counter-protest: Anti-Trump activists put up an inflatable effigy of the president as a rat in time for Roger Stone’s arrival
Publicity opportunity: The Stone spectacle has also been a magnet for a local tour company whose placard made a return to the entrance to court for the sentencing
Ready for the walk: Nydia Stone grasped her husband’s arm as they prepared to walk into court
Lightning rod: Federal judge Amy Berman Jackson will sentence Roger Stone in a case which has caused a crisis to engulf Bill Barr who pleaded with Donald Trump to let him do his job and stop the tweeting about his Department of Justice
I’m in charge: Donald Trump claimed in response to Bill Barr’s plea to stop tweeting that as president he is the nation’s top law enforcement official
But his lawyers filed a sealed motion last week alleging ‘juror misconduct’ after it emerged that the forewoman had posted anti-Trump messages on social media and re-tweeted commentary about Stone’s arrest.
Judge Jackson vowed to press on with Thursday’s sentencing regardless, despite repeated Twitter attacks from President Trump who has slammed the prosecution of 67-year-old Stone as unfair and ‘tainted’.
ROGER STONE DID A LOT WRONG: WHAT HE WAS CONVICTED OF
Roger Stone was found guilty on all charges of:
1. Obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering by trying to get Randy Credico to lie to Congress
2. Lying to Congress that he did not have emails or texts about Julian Assange
3. Lying when he claimed his references to being in touch with Assange were actually about a ‘go-between’ – Randy Credico
4. Lying that he didn’t ask his ‘go-between’ to communicate with Assange
5. Lying that he didn’t text or email the ‘go-between’ about WikiLeaks
6. Lying that he had never discussed conversation with his ‘go-between’ with anyone in the Trump campaign
As he took his seat in court, he had his new attorney, Seth Ginsberg, at his side.
Ginsberg is best known for representing Gotti – the former head of the Gambino crime family and son of notorious ‘Teflon Don’ John J. Gotti – who faced four trials in five years before he was cleared of racketeering in 2008.
Gotti could have faced 70 years behind bars but walked free when a third jury decided that, while he was likely behind the abduction and shooting of talk-show host Curtis Sliwa, the government had not proved a pattern of crimes, a necessary step to finding him guilty.
Also in Stone’s entourage which packed into the court room was Randy Short, his ‘spiritual advisor’ who is a Washington D.C. pastor, who has compared homosexuality to pedophilia and gay rights campaigners to Hitler.
Stone’s last appearance in front of Berman Jackson was when he was found guilty; since then his case has become a political crisis.
But it remains to be seen whether her punishment will be anywhere near as harsh as the seven to nine years originally requested by prosecutors before Barr triggered a political firestorm by ripping up their recommendation.
The original prosecution team of Aaron Zelinsky, Jonathan Kravis, Adam Jed and Michael Marando are not likely to be in court today after they resigned en masse over Barr’s intervention.
Stone is subject to a gag order for repeatedly taking aim at Judge Jackson in the lead up to last year’s proceedings, including mocking up a photo of her in rifle crosshairs.
But his proxies – including Trump – show no sign of shutting up.
The President exposed Barr to accusations of political interference last week by publicly praising the Attorney General’s decision to overrule his own prosecutors.
Barr denied intervening on Trump’s behalf but so far more than 2,000 former justice department employees have signed a petition calling on him to resign.
When he asked Trump to curb his explosive Twitter criticisms so he could get on with his job, the President flatly refused.
‘These were Mueller prosecutors, and the whole Mueller investigation was illegally set up based on a phony and now fully discredited Fake Dossier, lying and forging documents to the FISA Court, and many other things,’ Trump wrote Tuesday, bringing up a series of oft-repeated grievances about Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
And then he said that he – not Barr – was the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. Barr was later reported to be considering resigning; his spokeswoman denied that he was resigning, but did not deny that he was considering his position.
Stone’s decades-long career on the shadier margins of US politics appeared to be over last November after he was found guilty of five counts of making false statements to Congress and single counts of obstructing a congressional proceeding and witness tampering.
Jurors agreed the smooth-talking agent provocateur, who briefly served on Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign,told a series of ‘whoppers’ when he testified before members of House Intelligence Committee investigating Russian collusion in the 2016 election.
Stone lied about the identity of his ‘back channel’ to WikiLeaks and lied again when he denied asking its founder, Julian Assange, for the plundered trove of messages.
He also concealed numerous texts, emails and telephone conversations in which he discussed WikiLeaks with then candidate-Trump and senior campaign figures including former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, ex Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort andformer campaign official Rick Gates.
All about Assange: Roger Stone lied about the identity of his ‘back channel’ to WikiLeaks and lied again when he denied asking its founder, Julian Assange, for the plundered trove of messages
Back channels: Stone had fraudulently told lawmakers that Randy Credico (left), a left-wing radio comedian, was his ‘back channel’ to WikiLeaks when it was actually the conspiracy theorist and author Jerome Corsi (right)
Center of case: Roger Stone also took aim at Randy Credico’s therapy dog Bianca, a 13-year-old Coton de Tulear, writing in an text message: ‘I’m going to take that dog away from you.’
The net result of Stone lying to lawmakers ‘over and over and over again’ was that the House Intelligence Committee was impeded in its inquiries and its final report into Russian election inference was inaccurate because it didn’t mention Stone’s true intermediary, his trial heard.
The tampering charge referred to his effort to bully the comedian and radio host Randy Credico into pleading the Fifth so he would avoid contradicting Stone’s sworn September 26, 2017 testimony.
Former Richard Nixon-aide Stone had fraudulently told lawmakers that Credico was his ‘back channel’ to WikiLeaks when it was actually the conspiracy theorist and author Jerome Corsi.
When Credico threatened to contradict his testimony, Stone branded him a ‘c**sucker’, a ‘rat’ and urged the rattled comic to do a ‘Frank Pentangeli’, referencing a character in Godfather Part II who lies to a congressional committee to help the Corleone family before committing suicide.
He also took aim at Credico’s therapy dog Bianca, a 13-year-old Coton de Tulear, writing in an text message: ‘I’m going to take that dog away from you.’
Prosecutors recommended earlier that Stone serve seven to nine years behind bars, citing his threats to harm someone and his interference with the administration of justice as aggravating factors.
Barr later cast aside their request however, saying the proposed punishment was ‘excessive and unwarranted’ and leaving it up to the court to decide Stone’s jail sentence.
Credico was among those who argued against incarceration, saying in a January letter to Judge Jackson: ‘I never in any way felt that Stone himself posed a direct physical threat to me or to my dog.’
Tomeka Hart, a former Memphis City Schools Board President, stoked the flames further when she outed herself last Wednesday as the jury forewoman in a Facebook post voicing support for the overruled prosecutors.
‘I have kept my silence for months. Initially, it was for my safety. Then, I decided to remain silent out of fear of politicizing the matter,’ Hart wrote.
‘But I can’t keep quiet any longer. I want to stand up for Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed, Michael Marando, and Jonathan Kravis – the prosecutors on the Roger Stone trial.
‘It pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors. They acted with the utmost intelligence, integrity, and respect for our system of justice.
‘For that, I wanted to speak up for them and ask you to join me in thanking them for their service.’
A review of Hart’s social media posts showed that she had frequently denounced Trump, including calling the President and his supporters racists.
Furthermore, Hart had unsuccessfully ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2012 and participated in anti-Trump rallies and protests.
She had also re-tweeted a post by pundit Bakari Sellers dismissing Stone’s claims that the FBI used excessive force when they arrested him at his Fort Lauderdale, Florida home in January 2019.
Sellers had listed black victims of ‘police force’, including Sandra Bland, Walter Scott and Eric Gardner, scoffing: ‘But Roger Stone!!! Think about that.’
After serving on the Stone jury and finding him guilty, Hart took to social media again to gleefully post emojis of hearts and fist pumps.
The longtime GOP operative’s lawyers have already made one failed attempt to secure a re-trial, arguing in an unrelated motion that a different juror was biased.
They argued the juror, an IRS employee who worked with the Justice Department on criminal tax cases and admitted reading news articles about Stone’s arrest, should have been struck from the panel.
The juror denied having any opinions about Stone when asked about it by Judge Jackson during proceedings.
She ruled last week that there were approximately 1,400 lawyers at the IRS and that the defense had failed to demonstrate the ‘sort of inherent bias’ that would exclude one of their rank from being impartial.
The six Trump associates to be convicted in Mueller probe
GUILTY: ROGER STONE
Convicted in November 2019 on seven counts including obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and lying to Congress about his communications with WikiLeaks. Sentenced to 40 months in prison.
Stone was a person of interest to Mueller’s investigators long before his January 2019 indictment, thanks in part due to his public pronouncements as well as internal emails about his contacts with WikiLeks.
In campaign texts and emails, Stone communicated with associates about WikiLeaks following reports the organization had obtained a cache of Clinton-related emails.
According to the federal indictment, Stone gave ‘false and misleading’ testimony about his requests for information from WikiLeaks. He then pressured a witness, comedian Randy Credico, to take the Fifth Amendment rather than testify, and pressured him in a series of emails. Following a prolonged dispute over testimony, he called him a ‘rat’ and threatened to ‘take that dog away from you’, in reference to Credico’s therapy dog, Bianca. Stone warned him: ‘Let’s get it on. Prepare to die.’
GUILTY: MICHAEL FLYNN
Pleaded guilty to making false statements in December 2017. Awaiting sentence
Flynn was President Trump’s former National Security Advisor and Robert Mueller’s most senior scalp to date. He previously served when he was a three star general as President Obama’s director of the Defense Intelligence Agency but was fired.
He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about his conversations with a Russian ambassador in December 2016. He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.
GUILTY AND IN JAIL: MICHAEL COHEN
Pleaded guilty to eight counts including fraud and two campaign finance violations in August 2018. Pleaded guilty to further count of lying to Congress in November 2018. Sentenced to three years in prison and $2 million in fines and forfeitures in December 2018
Cohen was investigated by Mueller but the case was handed off to the Southern District of New York,leaving Manhattan’s ferocious and fiercely independent federal prosecutors to run his case.
Cohen was Trump’s longtime personal attorney, starting working for him and the Trump Organization in 2007. He is the longest-serving member of Trump’s inner circle to be implicated by Mueller. Cohen professed unswerving devotion to Trump – and organized payments to silence two women who alleged they had sex with the-then candidate: porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. He admitted that payments to both women were felony campaign finance violations – and admitted that he acted at the ‘direction’ of ‘Candidate-1’: Donald Trump.
He also admitted tax fraud by lying about his income from loans he made, money from taxi medallions he owned, and other sources of income, at a cost to the Treasury of $1.3 million.
And he admitted lying to Congress in a rare use of the offense. The judge in his case let him report for prison on March 6 and recommended he serve it in a medium-security facility close to New York City.
GUILTY AND IN JAIL: PAUL MANAFORT
Found guilty of eight charges of bank and tax fraud in August 2018. Sentenced to 47 months in March 2019. Pleaded guilty to two further charges – witness tampering and conspiracy against the United States. Jailed for total of seven and a half years in two separate sentences. Additionally indicted for mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney, using evidence previously presented by Mueller. That indictment was dismissed by the DA is appealing
Manafort worked for Trump’s campaign from March 2016 and chaired it from June to August 2016, overseeing Trump being adopted as Republican candidate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He is the most senior campaign official to be implicated by Mueller. Manafort was one of Washington D.C.’s longest-term and most influential lobbyists but in 2015, his money dried up and the next year he turned to Trump for help, offering to be his campaign chairman for free – in the hope of making more money afterwards. But Mueller unwound his previous finances and discovered years of tax and bank fraud as he coined in cash from pro-Russia political parties and oligarchs in Ukraine.
Manafort pleaded not guilty to 18 charges of tax and bank fraud but was convicted of eight counts in August 2018. The jury was deadlocked on the other 10 charges. A second trial on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent due in September did not happen when he pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and witness tampering in a plea bargain. He was supposed to co-operate with Mueller but failed to.
Minutes after his second sentencing hearing in March 2019, he was indicted on 16 counts of fraud and conspiracy by the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., using evidence which included documents previously presented at his first federal trial. The president has no pardon power over charges by district and state attorneys.
GUILTY: RICK GATES
Pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and making false statements in February 2018. Awaiting sentence
Gates, a Trump campaign official, was Manafort’s former deputy at political consulting firm DMP International. He admitted to conspiring to defraud the U.S. government on financial activity, and to lying to investigators about a meeting Manafort had with a member of congress in 2013. As a result of his guilty plea and promise of cooperation, prosecutors vacated charges against Gates on bank fraud, bank fraud conspiracy, failure to disclose foreign bank accounts, filing false tax returns, helping prepare false tax filings, and falsely amending tax returns.
GUILTY AND JAILED: GEORGE PAPADOPOLOUS
Pleaded guilty to making false statements in October 2017. Sentenced to 14 days in September 2018, and reported to prison in November. Served 12 days and released on December 7, 2018
Papadopoulos was a member of Donald Trump’s campaign foreign policy advisory committee. He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about his contacts with London professor Josef Mifsud and Ivan Timofeev, the director of a Russian government-funded think tank.
He agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation but is now highly critical of it.
- Trump rails against 'Deep State,' blames Obama hacking response
- Michael Cohen: Trump's personal lawyer will be charged within 90 days, claims Stormy Daniels' attorney
- Meet the pro-Trump PR guy at the center of the Mueller probe — and everything else
- Trump Steps Up Mueller Attack as Russia Probe Hits Close to Home
- Teenagers who vandalised historic black schoolhouse with swastikas sentenced to read history books on divisive issues
- Full transcript: "Face the Nation" on June 17, 2018
- J.D. Gordon: I am learning what it is like to be caught up in the Russia witch hunt
- Happy b-day, Mueller probe! What happened to the 'Russia collusion,' though?
- Ukrainian film-maker times hunger strike in Siberian prison with Russia World Cup
- Ukrainian filmmaker times hunger strike in Siberian prison with Russia World Cup
- How many other people like black cab rapist John Worboys have slipped through the parole net?
- Mueller to Manafort: We Followed the Rules in Indicting You
- Fiennes wants 'masked thugs' caught
Donald Trump attacks prosecution of Roger Stone while the judge is SENTENCING the dirty trickster - as DOJ lawyers IGNORE Bill Barr to say dirty trickster should not get leniency and call his conviction 'righteous' have 3679 words, post on www.dailymail.co.uk at February 20, 2020. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.