Judge sets July 14 surrender date, immediate home confinement for Roger Stone

Posted 39 days ago

From WWW.POLITICO.COM

Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied Stone's request to delay the start of his sentence until Sept. 3, instead giving Stone just over two weeks to report to FCI-Jesup.

A federal judge has ordered longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone to prison on July 14 and into home confinement until then, citing Stone's own evidence of medical issues that he cited to request a delay of his June 30 surrender date to begin a 40-month jail term.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied Stone's request to delay the start of his sentence until Sept. 3, instead giving Stone just over two weeks to report to FCI-Jesup.

"This will address the defendant’s stated medical concerns during the current increase of reported cases in Florida, and Broward County in particular, and it will respect and protect the health of other inmates who share defendant’s anxiety over the potential introduction and spread of the virus at this now-unaffected facility," Jackson said in a brief order accompanying her decision.

Jackson said she intends to make a fuller opinion public next week barring any objections by Stone or the prosecutors in the case. But for now, her order stands as a sharp rejection of Stone's plea.

Jackson sentenced Stone to his 40-month jail term in February following his conviction on charges of repeatedly lying to Congress and intimidating a witness to impede the House's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

After his sentencing, Stone's attorney urged the Bureau of Prisons to consider Stone's health when setting his surrender date, and BOP responded by agreed to bring him in on June 30. But earlier this week, Stone moved to delay his report date another two months, citing the risk of coronavirus in federal prisons.

Jackson immediately began a searching inquiry into the matter, pressing Stone and the U. S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia for details on Stone's request to obtain a delay. She also asked for details about coronavirus spread in FCI-Jesup.

What she received was evidence that no cases had appeared in the Georgia facility, a fact she emphasized in her order. A July 14 report date, she noted, affords the defendant seventy-five days beyond his original report date.

Jackson also pointedly intimated that inmates in the facility where Stone is facing incarceration might have as much to fear about Stone introducing coronavirus — after spending time traveling and in Florida, a recent hotspot for coronavirus — than he does about contracting it there. Her order will send Stone to his home for about two weeks, the standard self-quarantine period for those potentially exposed to coronavirus.

Jackson's order came despite prosecutors' indication they had no objection to Stone's request for another 60-day delay in his surrender date, citing department-wide policies implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is currently the U.S. Department of Justice’s policy ... to not oppose a defendant’s request to extend a voluntary surrender date for up to 60 days, unless the defendant poses an immediate public safety or flight risk," the U.S. attorney's office for Washington, D.C., said in a late-night filing. "For that reason—and that reason only—the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia does not oppose defendant Roger J. Stone’s request to extend his voluntary surrender date for up to 60 days"

In his request, the 67-year-old Stone cited the health risks he would face behind bars. And in a series of Instagram posts, Stone ratcheted up the rhetoric, claiming he would be facing "certain" death if his jail sentence continues as scheduled.

Jackson, though, made clear quickly that she isn't accepting Stone's contention at face value. After Stone's initial motion to delay his sentence, Jackson ordered the U.S. attorney's office for Washington, D.C. — which prosecuted the case — to submit its own filing weighing in on the matter and also to provide details about recent coronavirus testing at the federal prison.

In a subsequent order on Wednesday, Jackson also asked the government to show her any existing Justice Department or U.S. attorney policies about how to handle defendants who request delays in their surrender dates because of coronavirus.

And on Thursday, Jackson inquired further, ordering Stone to provide details about what he told the Bureau of Prisons which set his June 30 repo... (Read more)