President Donald Trump’s allies expect he could pardon or commute the sentence of Roger Stone within the next few days if his longtime friend is forced to report to prison on Tuesday as scheduled. But some of them are concerned such a move could further damage the president politically when he’s already facing headwinds less than four months before the November election.
Trump, who has been sharply critical of Stone’s case, on Friday said he’s considering using his executive clemency powers to keep his friend out of prison.
“I’ll be looking at it,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I think Roger Stone was very unfairly treated.”
Stone has said he’s praying Trump intervenes. On Thursday, Trump told radio host Howie Carr “his prayer may be answered."
“He’s a good person, he’s a character, but he’s a really good person.”
Stone has been ordered to report to a federal minimum security prison in Georgia by July 14, but he is asking a federal appeals court for a 51-day delay to postpone his reporting date to Sept. 3 because of concerns about coronavirus. Given that he is 67 and has health problems, his lawyers told the appeals court last week, "he is at considerable risk from serious health consequences, including death, if his surrender date is not extended."
That ruling is expected before Tuesday. If Stone is granted a delay, that could postpone any immediate action from the president.
While the Justice Department originally supported Stone’s request for the trial judge, Amy Berman Jackson, to grant him a postponement, it said her decision delaying his reporting date only until mid-July was a reasonable one. The government therefore on Thursday urged the appeals court to deny Stone's latest request for a delay until September.
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