President Donald Trump converted the prison sentence of his longtime adviser Roger Stone to a federal prison just days before the self-proclaimed "dirty fraudster" was reported.
In a statement, White House spokesman Kayleigh McEnany said that Trump "has signed an Executive Grant of Clemency that converts Roger Stone Jr.'s unfair verdict … Roger Stone is now a free man!"
Stone told The Associated Press that Trump had called him the previous Friday to let him know about the conversion.
Stone celebrated in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with conservative friends and said he had to change rooms because "too many people open bottles of champagne here."
McEnany described Stone as "a victim of the Russia joke that the left and its allies have immortalized in the media for years to undermine the Trump presidency."
President Donald Trump (left) transformed the judgment of Roger Stone (right), the long-time former Republican strategist who served as an advisor to his presidential campaign
"Not only was Mr. Stone indicted by overzealous prosecutors who were pursuing a case that should never have existed and arrested in an operation that should never have been approved, but there were also serious questions to the jury in the case," she said in one statement.
Democrats were upset with Trump's decision when House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff described it as "a violation of the rule of law and the principles of justice" and National Democratic Committee chairman Tom Perez asked, "There is power who doesn't abuse Trump? "
"President Trump has abused his power again and released this transformation on a Friday evening, hoping to avoid control again, by wasting the norms and values that make our country a shining beacon for the rest of the world." Democratic candidate spokesman Joe Biden said.
& # 39; He won't be ashamed. It won't be stopped until the Americans are heard at the ballot box this fall.
& # 39; Enough. & # 39;
Commutation does not delete Stone's criminal convictions in the same way as a pardon, but would protect her from serving prison terms.
The move takes place less than 24 hours after Fox News, who invited Trump to a call-in interview on Thursday night when he said he was considering a pardon for Trump, reported that Trump should grant Stone grace to the executive.
The White House was expected to make the announcement sometime on Friday when Trump was supposed to fly back from Florida to Washington DC.
The president was in the Sunshine State to fundraise and hold other events, even if the state is fighting a coronavirus outbreak.
Stone's lawyers fought against the beginning of the July 14 ruling and asked Amy Berman Jackson to delay it by citing the coronavirus and possible risks to Stone's health.
Grace is granted before someone serves his sentence.
It may also not include the full benefits of full pardon, which may include restoring voting rights and protecting you from deportation.
In a statement, White House spokesman Kayleigh McEnany said that Trump "has signed an Executive Grant of Clemency that converts Roger Stone Jr.'s unfair verdict … Roger Stone is now a free man!"
Stone gushed as Washington raved about the legal, political, and possible setback for the president to pardon a convicted criminal close to him told Huffington Post journalist Howard Fineman does not want a pardon, which he believes implies guilt, but would prefer a change in judgment.
“He knows that I was under enormous pressure to turn it on. That would have made my situation a lot easier. But I didn't do it, ”Stone said.
News of an action on Friday night came hours after Trump told reporters that he would soon review Stone's case.
Trump has repeatedly defended Stone, who has been convicted of congressional witness manipulation and lies.
Trump commented on Stone's case when he left the White House on a trip to Stone's Florida home state – when he proposed to detain both his predecessor and his alleged democratic challenger over the Russia investigation.
"I'll take a look at it. I think Roger Stone was treated very unfairly, just like many people, «Trump said.
“And in the meantime, Comey and all these people are walking around – including Biden and Obama – because we caught them spying on my campaign. Who would have believed that? & # 39; Trump said.
Trump may have been referring to information about Barack Obama officials who ordered the "unmasking" of sections involving former national security advisor Mike Flynn – whose law enforcement angered Trump.
He has raged repeatedly against former FBI director James Comey for his role in the Russia investigation.
Stone, 67, was persecuted as an offshoot of Special Envoy Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, which Trump has repeatedly referred to as a "witch hunt" to kill him.
He tweeted last month that Stone was a victim of a corrupt and illegal witch hunt that will go down as the greatest political crime in history. He can sleep well at night! "
Trump's comments complemented other comments in interviews on Thursday, indicating that he was on the verge of pardoning or transforming the verdict of Stone, the long-time former Republican strategist who acted as an advisor to his presidential campaign.
Stone's lawyers had attempted to overturn Judge Jackson's order to report to a federal correctional facility in Georgia, citing COVID-19 and health risks.
When asked by Fox News on Thursday evening whether Trump was considering pardoning his friend and ally, Trump replied, "I always think."
"In that case, you'll watch like everyone else," Trump added shyly.
Trump complained that Joe Biden (pictured) and Barack Obama are still "walking around" and not in prison
Roger Stone, longtime political ally of President Donald Trump, shows a gesture of victory when he leaves after a criminal status conference against him filed by Special Advisor Robert Mueller on February 1, 2019 at the US District Court in Washington, USA
Stone is a longtime political trickster who adores Richard Nixon
A federal judge denied an application from Stone's lawyers on Friday, saying he had to report to prison next week
Stone emphasized his confidence in an online interview on Friday when he said that he did not want to be pardoned but to avoid prison
In a separate interview with radio host Howie Carr, President Stones condemned "horrific" law enforcement treatment and reiterated that he could grant his petition for mercy.
& # 39; It was framed. He was treated horribly. He was treated so badly, «Trump said.
A jury sentenced the former strategist in November for seven crimes, including five cases in which false statements were made to the FBI and Congress investigators, a case of witness manipulation, and a case of judicial disability.
According to prosecutors, Stone lied during the testimony and did not submit any documents to Congress in 2017, which shows that he had tried to contact the radical pro-transparency group WikiLeaks a year earlier.
He lied about five facts and covered up his attempt to use mediators to get information that could help Trump's then-election candidate against Hillary Clinton.
Prosecutors initially sought seven to nine years' imprisonment, but Attorney General William Barr later revoked the recommendation shortly after Trump called it "tough" and "unfair" on Twitter.
A crooked police commissioner and governor trying to shake off a children's hospital: Who is Who of Donald Trump's pardoning pardon
The financier Michael Milken is known for his pioneering work on high-yield junk bonds.
In March 1989, a federal grand jury sued Milken for 98 charges and fraud, and pleaded guilty to six charges for securities and tax violations.
The 73-year-old Milken was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his crimes as head of Drexel Burnham Lambert's bond department and fined $ 600 million.
His prison sentence was later reduced to two years after working with the federal authorities.
Trump praised Milken's work in cancer research and said he "had done an incredible job in the world with all of his cancer research."
Milken survived prostate cancer and was a co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation. He chairs the Milken Institute – the charity that deals with melanoma, cancer, and other life-threatening diseases.
Kerik was appointed New York City Police Commissioner by Rudy Giuliani, the former New York Mayor who is now Trump's personal lawyer.
In June 2006, Kerik pleaded guilty to two violations of ethics before the Bronx Supreme Court.
Kerik admitted that during his tenure as Iraqi interior minister under President George W. Bush, he had accepted and not reported an interest-free loan of $ 250,000 from Israeli billionaire Eitan Wertheimer.
In November 2007, a federal grand jury in White Plains, New York, charged Kerik with tax fraud and misrepresented the loan to the federal government.
He later pleaded guilty to eight crimes and false information, and was sentenced to 48 months in prison and three years in prison. This time ended in October 2016.
Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, was jailed for 14 years for requesting bribes, including those for the Senate seat that Barack Obama once held, and for trying to shake off a children's hospital.
Blagojevich threatened to withdraw funds for Children's Memorial Hospital after his chief executive officer failed to contribute $ 50,000 to the governor's campaign.
The 63-year-old has been with the Federal Correctional Institution in Englewood, Colorado since March 15, 2012.
Its expected release date was 2024, taking two years of credit for good behavior into account.
In 2009, Blagojevich appeared on NBC's "The Apprentice", the reality TV show that was then moderated by Trump.
The former owner of the San Francisco 49ers paid $ 400,000 to former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards to help purchase a riverboat casino license in 1998.
He pleaded guilty for not reporting a crime and was fined $ 1 million and two years suspended.
He resigned in 1997 after two Louisiana newspapers reported that he would be charged with gambling fraud. He was also suspended from the NFL for a year.
DeBartolo owned the 49ers for 23 years and won five Super Bowls as the owner.
Amid claims that Stone had "asked for forgiveness" before going to jail on July 14, Trump said that some kind of divine intervention may not be entirely out of the possible range
Stone lied during the testimony and did not submit any documents to Congress in 2017, indicating that he had tried to contact the radical pro-transparency group WikiLeaks a year earlier
The rise and fall of the & # 39; trysexual & # 39; Dirty Tricksters: How Roger Stone's boastful love for Richard Nixon, conspiracy theories, and swinging took him to the top and then went under when he lied for Donald Trump
A guilty verdict last year brought an abrupt end to the decades-long career of Roger Stone, a provocateur and self-proclaimed dirty cheater who thrived on the shadier edge of US politics.
Roger Jason Stone Jr. grew up in Lewisboro, New York, in a Catholic working class family and showed a zeal for the harsh and troubled political life at a young age.
In elementary school, he campaigned for John F. Kennedy to tell the kids in the cafeteria that Nixon would get them to attend additional classes on a Saturday if he won the 1960 election.
When he was a junior and vice president of the student government in high school, Stone manipulated the president's overthrow so he could take over.
"I made alliances and put all my serious challengers on my ticket," he boasted of the New York Times decades later.
"I hired the least popular man in school to run against me. You think that's mean? No, it's smart. & # 39;
Roger Stone was found guilty of hindering the judiciary, manipulating witnesses and lying to Congress to end his decades-long career
He worked for Richard Nixon and was so enthusiastic about the president that Stone later had Nixon's face tattooed on his back
Stone was hired as a consultant when Trump finally submitted an offer to the White House almost two decades later, after Stone first suggested that he should run. Stone was driven out in a power struggle
Stone entered the political arena in 1972 when he dropped out of George Washington University, this time to support Nixon in his re-election campaign – not the only time he changed loyalties without hesitation.
In one of his first "dirty tricks," he donated $ 135 to one of Nixon's Republican rivals on behalf of the Young Socialist Alliance – and then passed the receipt on to a journalist.
When Nixon triumphed, the boastful young aide was rewarded with an administrative job.
Perhaps unintentionally, his connection with dirty student tricks brought him a connection with the "Pied Piper", the dirty agent loved by Nixon.
Stone denied being one of them and said they were from the University of Southern California, but the nickname had been with him for a lifetime.
The 37th President of the United States left a lasting impression on Stone: the longtime GOP agent later had Nixon's face tattooed on his back.
"Women love it," he told the New Yorker. “The reason why I am a Nixonit is its indestructibility and resilience.
Nixon left another legacy on Stone: Watergate.
During the Congress scandal hearings in 1973, Stone discovered that he had recruited a spy to infiltrate the campaigns of several Nixon democratic rivals.
He was fired from his job with then Senator Bob Dole, but his reputation for the dark political arts was intact.
Stone met with Dole for his presidential campaign in 1996, but resigned when The National Inquirer announced that he was placing ads on a swinger website to find sex partners for himself and his second wife Nydia Bertran Stone.
In an interview with the New Yorker, who was partly run in a swingers club, he later described himself as "Libertarian" and "Trysexual – I tried everything".
The couple apparently found a religion more recently, brought a pastor in robes to court, and saw them at Sunday mass.
President Donald Trump's former adviser has a tattoo with Nixon's face on his upper back that he showed off for a Netflix special
In 1996, The National Inquirer revealed that Stone had placed ads on a swingers website to find sex partners for himself and his second wife Nydia Bertran Stone
Stone took over President Nixon's legendary V for the win and often posed with it
Stone, pictured in his Florida office, is an experienced Republican politician after entering politics in 1972
Stone worked for several other presidential campaigns: those of Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, and finally his long-time friend Donald Trump, who hired Stone in the 1990s to promote his casino business.
He also established a longstanding relationship with the disgraced former Trump campaign chairman and now federal prisoner Paul Manafort after the couple co-founded one of the earliest mega-lobbying companies in DC, Black, Manafort & Stone, in 1980.
On the way, he gained a reputation for dark arts and dark acts, a penchant for expensive tailoring, and a Rolodex from customers from the top of the Republican Party and beyond – including Donald Trump's struggling casino business, a connection that turned out to be the key to of his future.
Stone suggested Trump to run for president in early 1998, and even worked at Trump Tower for a while to help him.
He was hired as a consultant when his old ally finally submitted an offer to the White House almost two decades later.
But he was pushed into a power struggle that made him look outside – and Trump called with his advice and apparently bragged about his connections to WikiLeaks.
Outside the campaign, he accused Ted Cruz of doing business with five women; Cruz replied that he was a "pied piper" and claimed that he was "pulling the strings of Donald Trump".
But a different and sadder picture appeared in the Trump Tower.
Stone worked for several other presidential campaigns, including Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush and his long-time friend Donald Trump
Roger Jason Stone Jr. grew up in Lewisboro, New York, in a Catholic working class family where his zeal for politics was evident at a young age (pictured with Paul Manafort and Lee Atwater).
Figures from the Senior Campaign indicated that the silver-haired Svengali's influence waned when WikiLeaks shook the presidential race in 2016.
Rick Gates said Stone still had access to Trump's senior figures despite leaving his position, but the relationship had become "tense."
And Steve Bannon admitted in his testimony that he enjoyed Stone's "call" when his big predictions by Julian Assange stalled.
In the past, a Republican presidency had been a safe payday for Stone, but this time his connection with Trump was toxic and expensive.
He found work at InfoWars, a suitable home for a man who had been promoting conspiracy theories for decades, and a permanent place in the language community.
But the Mueller investigation brought massive legal costs – and even then, an expensive lawyer in 2017 didn't stop him from making a massive mistake: lying to Congress.
Still, Stone predicted by January of this year that he would avoid Robert Mueller's prosecutors and scoffed in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com: "You have nothing."
He was handcuffed three weeks later when FBI agents with guns surrounded his Fort Lauderdale, Florida house in the middle of the night to detain him.
In the past, a Republican presidency had been a safe payday for Stone, but this time his connection with Trump was toxic and expensive
Stone's house was searched early in the morning this year and he was detained
Then, on the steps of the federal court in Broward County, Stone might be enjoying his last hurray as he defiantly and unbendingly showed up to deliver a devastating shame about Müller's "witch hunt" while flashing Nixon's hallmark of victory.
When he then sold T-shirts titled "Roger Stone Didn't Go Wrong", started a media tour, and published a replica Instagram image of Judge Amy Berman Jackson in the crosshair of the rifle, enough was enough.
Berman Jackson responded by hitting Stone with a gag command that prohibited him from talking about his case in the press or on social media.
When it was their turn to address the process, the defenders chose to play Stone audio prior to the 2017 Congress, rather than letting the jury hear the man himself.
It was perhaps a tacit acceptance that the world had heard enough of Watergate survivor Roger Stone and his vengeful nature of politics without borders.
Four prosecutors withdrew from the case in response to Barr's decision. One of the prosecutors, Aaron Zelinsky, testified before Congress last month that the DOJ leaders, under AG Barr's instruction, had applied for Stone to be punished for "fear of the president".
Stone was eventually sentenced to 40 months in prison by a judge for his crimes, in addition to a $ 20,000 fine, four years in prison and 250 hours of community service.
Developments in this case raised concerns about the DOJ's independence from political pressures and prompted Congress Democrats to ask the Inspector General of Justice to investigate.
In the meantime, Barr told ABC News that Stone had already decided to seek an easier sentence for Stone regardless of Trump's tweet. He added that the President's constant public commentary made it "impossible" for him to do his job.
A few hours later, after U.S. district judge Amy Berman announced Jackson Stone's verdict, Trump indicated the possibility of a pardon.
"I am following this very closely and I want it to develop fully, since I think Roger has a very good chance of being discharged," said the President. "I would like to see it."
But Trump stopped committing to pardon Stone and said, "I will not do anything about the great powers that have been conferred on a President of the United States. I want the process to run. I think that's the best. & # 39;
Commutation was the latest example of Trump using his full powers to pardon powerful men who he believes have been abused by the judicial system.
Trump went on grace in February, converted the 14-year prison sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, and pardoned former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, financier Michael Milken, and several others.
Trump has also offered mercy to other political allies, including Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was awaiting sentencing, conservative commentator Dinesh D & # 39; Souza, who was convicted of campaign funding violations, and Conrad Black, one Newspaper publisher convicted of fraud who wrote a flattering book about the president.
However, Trump spent a lot more time trumpeting his decision to change Alice Marie Johnson's sentence, who was jailed for non-violent drug offenses and became aware of Trump after reality star Kim Kardashian West took up her case.
Her story was published in a Trump campaign's Super Bowl ad.
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