A prosecutor from the Mueller investigation says Trump spared Roger Stone from prison as a reward for 'keeping his lips sealed'

Jim Bourg/ReutersRoger Stone at a US District Court in Washington, DC, on February 1, 2019.
  • Andrew Weissmann, who worked as a prosecutor on Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, has argued that President Donald Trump spared his former adviser Roger Stone from prison as a reward.
  • “Mr. Stone was sentenced to spend 40 months in prison until he got his reward for keeping his lips sealed,” Weissmann wrote in a New York Times op-ed article on Tuesday.
  • Trump’s decision to commute Stone’s 40-month prison sentence last Friday was heavily criticised. Republican Sen. Mitt Romney called it an act of “unprecedented, historic corruption.”
  • Stone was found guilty in 2019 of lying to a congressional panel investigating Russia, WikiLeaks, and the Trump campaign.
  • But Trump has defended the decision, claiming that Stone did not receive a fair trial and boasting that he received “rave reviews” for the decision.
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Andrew Weissmann, one of the prosecutors who served on the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, has argued that President Donald Trump commuted the political consultant Roger Stone’s prison sentence as a reward for “keeping his lips sealed.”

In an op-ed article in The New York Times published Tuesday, Weissmann said Stone was found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt, of lying to Congress about the coordination between the Trump 2016 campaign, Mr. Stone, WikiLeaks, and Russia.”

“Mr. Stone was sentenced to spend 40 months in prison until he got his reward for keeping his lips sealed,” Weissmann continued of Trump’s decision last week to commute Stone’s prison sentence.

Weissmann is an attorney who played a key role in the Mueller investigation. On Tuesday it was announced that he would be publishing an insider’s account of the investigation in September.

Trump’s decision last week to spare Stone prison time attracted widespread criticism from both political parties. Sen. Mitt Romney, an outspoken Republican, described it as an act of “unprecedented, historic corruption.”

The president on Monday defended his decision to commute Stone’s sentence and claimed: “I am getting rave reviews for what I did for Roger Stone.”

Stone, a veteran “dirty trickster” and GOP strategist who advised Trump, was found guilty of lying about his contact with WikiLeaks during the 2016 election.

The site published thousands of emails from Democratic servers in a bid to embarrass Hillary Clinton. US intelligence later found the emails had been stolen by Russian intelligence.

In his first TV interview since the commutation, Stone told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday that Trump had effectively saved his life.

“I was literally hours away from being sent to a COVID-infested prison in violation of the current Bureau of Prisons and DOJ policies,” he said.

He also said a lung condition meant a coronavirus infection could have been fatal for him.

Stone went on to say the trial was unfair: “I had a biased judge. I had a stacked jury. I had a corrupt jury forewoman … My trial was over before it started.”

In the interview he responded to claims that the commutation was a reward for his silence.

“There was no circumstance under which I would bear false witness against the president,” he said. “I was just not willing to lie… What I said has been consistent, that I would not lie against my friend of 40 years [Trump] so they could use it for impeachment.”

On Saturday, Mueller also wrote a rare op-ed article in The Washington Post defending his investigation against claims made by Trump and Trump’s allies that it was politically motivated.

“Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so,” Mueller wrote.

Weissmann, in his op-ed article, called for Attorney General William Barr – who has said he did not back the commutation of Stone’s sentence – to call Stone before a grand jury to establish what really happened back in 2016.

“If there was nothing nefarious about his coordination efforts, why did he lie about them to Congress?” Weissmann wrote of Stone. “This question remains unanswered, as the Mueller report notes.”

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