A U.S judge on Friday ruled that Roger Stone must report to prison on July 14 and that he will immediately be placed on house arrest until then.
Stone, a former self-proclaimed adviser to President Donald Trump, was convicted last year of witness tampering, obstruction of justice and lying to Congress and was set to begin his 40-month sentence at a prison in Georgia on June 30.
However, the 67-year-old claimed he has health issues that increase his risk of contracting the novel coronavirus and has asked that his start date be pushed back 60 days until September.
US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson decided not to grant the 60-day extension on Friday but gave Stone a further 14 days until he must hand himself in to begin his sentence.
US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied Roger Stone’s request to push back the start of his sentence for 60 days but granted him 14 more days and placed him in home confinement. Pictured: Stone after he was sentenced to 40 months in prison in February
She also ordered Stone to begin immediate home confinement until July 14, noting the rising number of coronavirus cases in Florida, where he is located.
Jackson had previously noted the frequency of Stone’s travel during sentencing in February.
‘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,’ Jackson wrote in the ruling.
She added that the further extension has granted Stone 75 extra days in total past his first reporting date.
The Department of Justice had denied this week that Stone is being giving special treatment – after they agreed to his request to delay the start of his prison sentence.
On Wednesday, Judge Jackson had asked prosecutors why the Department of Justice did not resist Stone’s effort to delay his sentence.
Prosecutors wrote in a court filing Friday that they were following a directive from the Justice Department not to oppose sensible delays in sentencing as the pandemic, which has killed more than 126,000 Americans, rages on.
According to the US Attorney’s Office, all defendants not deemed a flight risk are having their sentences delayed due to the pandemic.
‘The US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has uniformly adhered’ this standard, a filing from Thursday, and first reported by Politico reads.
The Justice Department had previously denied that Stone is being giving special treatment by agreeing to his request to delay the start of his prison sentence. He asked for a delay to health issues that make him more susceptible to COVID-19 but was denied the full extension Friday
‘For that reason – and that reason only – the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia does not oppose Stone’s motion for a 60-day delay.’
Judge Jackson still ruled against the full extension Friday.
As of Thursday, nearly 5,000 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, since late March.
The Bureau of Prisons has said that more than 3,200 have recovered while at least 60 inmates have died.
In a previous filing, Stone said he was wary because 25 tests for the virus have been conducted at the correctional facility where he will be serving his sentence.
Aaron Zelinsky (pictured), who prosecuted the Stone case, said Stone was ‘being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the President’
The Justice Department says no cases have been confirmed and that the tests were done as a precaution.
Throughout Stone’s trial and conviction, several people have been accused of interference including Trump, Attorney General William Barr and top officials at the DOJ.
Aaron Zelinsky, a member of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s team who prosecuted the Stone case, testified about interference from the DOJ to drop the charges against Stone.
Zelinsky told Congress that he recommended a harsher sentence for Stone but DOJ leaders pushed for a more lenient sentence at Barr’s direction because they were ‘afraid of the president.’
In written testimony, he said Stone was ‘being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the President’.