Donald Trump Commutes Longtime Friend and Former Advisor Roger Stone's Prison Sentence
Stone, 67, was convicted in November of seven charges — including lying to Congress under oath, obstruction of a congressional investigation and tampering with a witness — as a part of the Trump-Russia investigation
President Donald Trump has commuted the prison sentence of his friend and former political advisor Roger Stone just days before his longtime confidante was to report to a federal prison to begin serving a 40-month term.
Stone, 67, was convicted in November of seven charges — including lying to Congress under oath, obstruction of a congressional investigation and tampering with a witness during the Trump-Russia investigation.
In a statement released on Friday, the White House press Kayleigh McEnany claimed that Stone was "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."
"There was never any collusion between the Trump Campaign, or the Trump Administration, with Russia. Such collusion was never anything other than a fantasy of partisans unable to accept the result of the 2016 election," she said.
Citing "numerous medical conditions," McEnany added that Stone "would be put at serious medical risk in prison."
"He has appealed his conviction and is seeking a new trial. He maintains his innocence and has stated that he expects to be fully exonerated by the justice system," she said.
"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. At this time, however, and particularly in light of the egregious facts and circumstances surrounding his unfair prosecution, arrest, and trial, the President has determined to commute his sentence. Roger Stone has already suffered greatly. He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!"
According to the Department of Justice, Stone tried to hinder the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and what the Trump campaign knew about that.
Part of House investigation included Russia’s involvement in the release of damaging Democratic emails via WikiLeaks in 2016.
Robert Mueller, the special counsel, separately investigated the Russia-Trump ties for nearly two years but did not find any criminal conspiracy — though he documented multiple links between Russia and Trump as well as the president’s possibly illegal efforts to end the investigation.
Stone was one of several Trump aides charged with crimes as a result of Mueller’s investigation. Others include Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser.
Trump, 74, has continually denounced Stone's prosecution since his arrest in January 2019.
Earlier this year, Trump publicly slammed federal prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation for Stone, which led to four attorneys stepping down from the case as the Justice Department reversed itself and reduced its requested sentence.
Stone's commutation does not erase his felony convictions, the Associated Press reported but would protect him serving prison time.
A representative for Stone did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment, though his attorney Grant Stone told CNN in a statement: "Mr. Stone is incredibly honored that President Trump used his awesome and unique power under the Constitution of the United States for this act of mercy. Mr. and Mrs. Stone appreciate all the consideration the President gave to this matter."