In a scathing sentencing memo made public Monday, the Justice Department recommended Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentence Roger Stone to between seven and nine years in prison on charges first brought by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“Roger Stone obstructed Congress’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, lied under oath, and tampered with a witness,” the memo said, citing the charges for which a jury found Stone guilty. “And when his crimes were revealed by the indictment in this case, he displayed contempt for this Court and the rule of law.”
According to the prosecutors’ assessment of the federal sentencing guidelines, Stone’s conduct warrants a sentence of between 87 and 108 months. However, the judge is not bound by these guidelines, and Stone may eventually serve significantly less time than he is sentenced to.
Stone’s criminal conduct was tied to his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee during its Russia probe. He misled the committee about his efforts to obtain information from WikiLeaks during the 2016 election. He also tried to convince Randy Credico to lie to the committee about their interactions; he even threatened Credico’s dog.
Credico has since submitted a letter to the judge saying he did not take Stone’s threats seriously and urging that he not go to prison.
But the prosecutors insist that Stone’s conduct is extremely serious, and it needs a substantial punishment in order to deter other potential offenders.
“Stone knew the gravity of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation when he obstructed it by giving false testimony and tampering with a witness. Indeed, Stone acknowledged as much in his opening statement before the Committee. Stone chose — consciously, repeatedly, and flagrantly – to obstruct and interfere with the search for the truth on an issue of vital importance to all Americans,” the memo said. “This Court should impose a sentence that accurately
reflects the value the judicial system places on the need to allow witnesses to testify truthfully without threat or interference, and the importance of testifying truthfully under oath.”
Stone’s false statements about documents had a significant impact on the Committee’s investigation. After Stone falsely testified that he had no written communications with his intermediary and that he had no written communications referencing Assange, the Committee did not issue a subpoena to Stone for those categories of documents. When the FBI began investigating Stone’s conduct in 2018, the text messages between Stone and Credico from November 2016 to November 2017, which the Committee surely would have subpoenaed if Stone had told the truth about their existence, were gone.
Since Stone knew what he was doing, the prosecutors said, his conduct was a “direct and brazen attack on the rule of law.”
They added: “Of crucial importance to the determination of an appropriate sentence here is that Stone decided to double – and triple – down on his criminal conduct by tampering with a witness for months in order to make sure his obstruction would be successful.”
The memo also noted that Stone repeatedly showed contempt for the court itself during the trial. At one point, he posted an image of the judge herself on social media with a symbol resembling crosshairs near her face.
Stone is likely hoping for a presidential pardon, which at this point seems like the only way he could avoid prison time. But President Trump is probably unlikely to give one until at least after the November election. Stone is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 20.