President Trump's longtime friend and former political adviser Roger Stone had his sentence commuted Friday just days before having to report to prison in Georgia after he was convicted last year as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
Here's what happened:
- Sentence commuted: Trump on Friday commuted Stone's sentence, sparing his longtime friend from setting foot in prison following his conviction for lying to Congress in part to protect Trump during the Russia investigation.
- White House praises Trump's decision: The White House said in a statement that Stone "has already suffered greatly. He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!" The White House claims the charges against Stone "were the product of recklessness borne of frustration and malice."
- Stone recounts his call with Trump: In their phone call, Stone said Trump explained the two options the former political adviser had left. "He said you understand I have the option, I have the authority to either grant a pardon or commute your sentence," Stone told reporters tonight. "He says you should understand that a pardon would be final, and that in accepting a pardon, you are ... accepting guilt, and I would rather see you fight this out which is why I'm commuting your sentence."
- Appeal denied: The DC Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday denied Stone’s request for a prison sentence delay. The decision came hours before Trump announced that he was commuting Stone's sentence. "In sum, Stone is not legally eligible for further postponement of his reporting date," a three-judge panel on the appeals court decided.
- The case against Stone: The Justice Department prosecutors explained in court Stone had lied to protect Trump. Trump's knowledge of Stone's efforts to get leaked Democratic documents in 2016 was a major question in the Mueller investigation, that Democrats on Capitol Hill still want to investigate.