- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2020

Roger Stone’s most ardent supporters Thursday blasted a federal judge minutes after she sentenced the veteran GOP political operative and Trump ally to more than three years in prison for obstructing the Trump-Russia probe.

“This is a travesty and miscarriage of justice,” former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo told The Washington Times. “This is the final gasp of the bogus Russia investigation and gives the president everything he needs to pardon Roger Stone.”

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down Stone’s 40-month sentence in a Washington, D.C., courtroom. Stone was convicted in November for making false statements, witness tampering and obstruction when he impeded Congress’ 2017 probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Judge Jackson issued the sentence during a lengthy two-hour hearing in which she issued a scathing rebuke of the self-described “dirty trickster.” She said Stone wasn’t being sentenced because of his politics, but she also took aim at Mr. Trump in her closing remarks.

Stone, an unofficial campaign adviser, had lied to a congressional panel about his efforts to connect with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who was releasing damaging hacked emails stolen from the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.

“He was not prosecuted for standing up for the president,” she said. “He was prosecuted for covering up for the president.”

Randy Lancaster-Short, a Washington preacher who has served as Stone’s spiritual adviser over the past two years, said the judge’s comments were inconsistent.

“The judge said it wasn’t about politics, but it was about politics when she brought up Trump,” he told The Times. “You can’t have it both ways.”

Mr. Caputo last week launched a committee to demand a presidential pardon for Stone. Dubbed “The Pardon Roger J. Stone Committee,” the group is also raising money to cover Stone’s legal expenses.

He said Judge Jackson’s speech was aimed at a Democratic audience, suggesting she was angling for a future appointment to a federal appeals court.

“It sounded like an application for a higher court position to me,” he said.

Mr. Lancaster-Short said he hopes Stone receives a new trial. Stone’s attorneys last week requested a retrial based on allegations of political bias against one the jurors.

The trial forewoman had made disparaging social media posts about Stone and described Trump supporters as racists before she was seated on the jury.

“There is enough information there, based on that woman’s social media posts, to take a second look at this,” Mr. Lancaster-Short said.

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