Roger Stone Is Goin' To Prison! BUT FOR HOW LONG?
Roger Stone has already been convicted of multiple felonies. Now, it's time for the court to figure out how long he's going away for.
And really, it couldn't happen to a better person.
In November, Trump buddy Roger Stone was convicted of obstructing a congressional investigation, making numerous false statements to Congress, and witness tampering, all related to the congressional investigation of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia to defraud the American people out of a free and fair election. On Monday, federal prosecutors asked Judge Amy Berman Jackson to sentence Stone to seven to nine years in prison, arguing a sentence of seven to nine years would "accurately reflect the seriousness of his crimes and promote respect for the law."
As the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia so succinctly summarized it,
Roger Stone obstructed Congress's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, lied under oath, and tampered with a witness. And when his crimes were revealed by the indictment in this case, he displayed contempt for this Court and the rule of law.
As you might remember, Stone committed a whole bunch of crimes in what appeared to be an effort to try to make himself look more important and well-connected than he actually is. Or, as prosecutors put it, as "part of an effort to hide from Congress and to craft a false narrative about Stone's conduct in 2016[,]" Stone lied about a whole bunch of shit. (Okay, that last part is paraphrased.)
So basically, Stone lied a lot to the House Intelligence Committee, while under oath, about what he knew about the DNC documents WikiLeaks had and who he was getting his WikiLeaks information from. He also lied about who he was talking to in the Trump campaign about what he allegedly knew. Then, he tried to convince other people to lie under oath or refuse to testify, to try to save his ass.
You know the saying about how the coverup is worse than the crime? In this case, the coverup was the crime. Stone certainly didn't have to lie to Congress. But people like Roger Stone fancy themselves above the law, so why not just keep engaging in fuckery?
The federal prosecutors went hard in their sentencing memo for Stone, even quoting Alexander Hamilton's Federalist 68 to make the argument that
Foreign election interference is the "most deadly adversar[y] of republican government."
Reminding the judge that "Stone's lies to Congress and his obstructive conduct are a direct and brazen attack on the rule of law," prosecutors took a hard line, arguing that Stone's conduct both before and during his prosecution should increase his sentence, to a total of between seven and five years in the clink.
As noted by the lawyers for the DC US Attorney's office,
Stone's conduct over the past two years shows the low regard in which he holds the House Intelligence Committee's investigation and this very criminal case. That conduct suggests that a period of incarceration is warranted to achieve adequate deterrence.
And did Stone just fuck up once, realize his mistake, and repent? Of course not!
Of crucial importance to the determination of an appropriate sentence here is that 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. [...] 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.
Nor was Stone a victim himself, driven to his crimes by poverty and misfortune. Rather,
He is a man of substantial means, and he has enjoyed a modicum of fame from his years of being a political advisor and confidant to powerful politicians, and from being an author and host of his own political radio show. Rather, his conduct was undertaken purposefully, by someone who knew exactly what he was doing.
Prosecutors also took the opportunity to remind Judge Jackson of some of the more colorful moments that came up at Stone's trial, like his references to The Godfather II and that time he threatened weird radio host Randy Credico's dog. (And if you need a reminder on who Credico is and why he is a character in this story, you are not alone, and click here.)
By the spring of 2018, Stone's efforts to tamper with Credico had escalated from movie lines and Fifth Amendment references to outright threats. On April 9, 2018, in an email chain about Stone's testimony, Stone wrote to Credico, "I'm going to take that dog away from you. Not a fucking thing you can do about it either, because you are a weak, broke, piece of shit." As Credico testified at trial, at the time Credico received the message, he did not believe that Stone would steal his dog, but he worried about "other people get[ting] ideas" if Stone posted a public message to this effect. Tr. 11/8/19, p. 795. Later that day, Stone wrote to Credico, "I am so ready. Let's get it on. Prepare to die, cocksucker."
As we know, Roger Stone didn't suddenly start behaving like a sane or rational person after he was indicted, and he seemed to repeatedly try to get his bail revoked. Or, as prosecutors put it, "Stone's post-indictment conduct demonstrated the low regard in which he held these proceedings."
Although I'm sure Judge Jackson remembers it very well, prosecutors reminded her of the bullshit Stone pulled while his case was pending, including that time he posted a photo of her to Instagram with a crosshairs, calling her an "Obama-appointed Judge," referencing Hillary Clinton and Benghazi, and using the hashtag "#fixisin."
Even after Judge Jackson yelled at Stone and modified the gag order prohibiting him from talking about the case, Stone continued to flout her orders, repeatedly posting to Facebook and Instagram about the case, as well as feeding information to other totally sane and normal people like conspiracy monger/supplement pusher Alex Jones.
All of these things, the lawyers argue, should increase the length of Stone's sentence. Federal sentencing guidelines suggest judges increase penalties when criminals threaten people in order to obstruct justice, as Stone did when he threatened Credico and his dog.
The guidelines also allow for increased penalties when a criminal defendant "willfully obstruct[s] or impede[s], or attempt[s] to obstruct or impede, the administration of justice with respect to the prosecution of the instant offense of conviction." Like when, oh, I don't know, a high-profile goon posts images encouraging his psychotic followers to threaten or commit violence against a federal judge.
Prosecutors also suggest sentencing enhancements because Stone's conduct "resulted in substantial interference with the administration of justice" by obstructing the House Intelligence Committee's investigation and "because the offense was otherwise extensive in scope, planning, or preparation." Amazingly enough, Stone's bizarre conduct was, indeed,
a multi-year scheme involving (1) false statements in sworn testimony; (2) the concealment of important documentary evidence; (3) further lies in a written submission to Congress; and (4) a relentless and elaborate campaign to silence Credico that involved cajoling, flattering, crafting forged documents, badgering, and threatening Credico's reputation, friend, life, and dog.
Roger Stone was not the first or second Trump associate to be convicted of federal crimes as part of Robert Mueller's investigation, but the sixth. Naturally, our very stable genius president, naturally, took to Twitter to complain about how unfair it is to throw his criminals in prison and once again threaten to investigate Democrats.
Great. Awesome. Adorable. And, of course, very presidential.
It would be nice if someone could read some excerpts of the prosecution's sentencing brief to Our Dear Leader. Particularly stuff like this:
Investigations into election interference concern our national security, the integrity of our democratic processes, and the enforcement of our nation's criminal laws. These are issues of paramount concern to every citizen of the United States. Obstructing such critical investigations thus strikes at the very heart of our American democracy.
LOLJK, we all know the asshole-in-chief doesn't give a shit about the integrity of our democratic process or the enforcement of our laws. It sure would be nice if he did, though, wouldn't it?
Stone will be sentenced in federal court in Washington, DC on February 20. Stay tuned!