President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of his longtime confidant Roger Stone on Friday while also lashing out against a years-long probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
“Roger Stone is a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement Friday that ended with the exclamation: “Roger Stone is a free man!”
While the 643-word statement recited a litany of Trump supporters’ complaints about Stone’s “unfair prosecution, arrest, and trial” – including several complaints about the media – the commutation leaves Stone’s conviction standing. Unlike a pardon, which would have absolved the GOP operative of any wrongdoing, the White House action only lifted Stone’s punishment, a 40-month prison sentence set to begin Tuesday.
In so doing, the White House cited Stone’s age, 67, saying it would put him at medical risk in prison while he continues his appeals.
Stone “maintains his innocence and has stated that he expects to be fully exonerated by the justice system. Mr. Stone, like every American, deserves a fair trial and every opportunity to vindicate himself before the courts. The President does not wish to interfere with his efforts to do so,” the White House said.
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