WASHINGTON – A federal judge ordered Roger Stone to surrender on July 14, denying his request for a two-month reprieve from serving his prison sentence because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Stone, who was initially supposed to surrender on Tuesday, asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to allow him to stay at home until Sept. 3, saying his age and medical conditions make potential exposure to COVID-19 life-threatening.
The Justice Department did not oppose extending Stone’s surrender date by two months, saying it has become its policy to allow defendants to make such requests since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic – as long as defendants are not public safety threats or flight risks. The U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., which prosecuted Stone, has routinely consented to requests to delay imprisonment since March, prosecutors said.
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Stone will serve his time at a federal prison in Jesup, Georgia. No one has tested positive at the facility.
Jackson also ordered that Stone be placed on home confinement in the two weeks before he surrenders, presumably so he can self-quarantine before he goes to prison.
“This will address the defendant’s stated medical concerns during the current increase of reported cases in Florida, and Broward County in particular,” Jackson said, referring to the county where Stone lives, “and it will respect and protect the health of other inmates who share the defendant’s anxiety over the potential introduction and spread of the virus at this now-unaffected facility.”
The deadly virus has killed dozens of prisoners and infected thousands across the federal prison system. In response to the pandemic, Attorney General William Barr ordered the Bureau of Prisons to expedite moving vulnerable prisoners from the most affected facilities to home confinement.
Stone, a longtime ally of President Donald Trump, was sentenced to a little over three years in prison. A jury convicted him of seven crimes, including lying to lawmakers to protect Trump and his campaign and obstructing Congress’ investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race.
One of the prosecutors in Stone’s case has accused the Justice Department of giving Stone favorable treatment for political reasons. Aaron Zelinsy, who resigned from the case in protest, testified before Congress Wednesday that the Justice Department leadership pressured them to recommend a more lenient sentence for Stone because he’s Trump’s ally.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Roger Stone: Trump ally ordered to surrender amid coronavirus concerns