Stone, 67, had been due to surrender June 30 to a federal prison in Jesup, Ga., while he appeals his November conviction on charges of lying and witness tampering in a congressional investigation.
But the longtime confidant of President Trump requested a two-month delay to Sept. 3, citing the novel coronavirus pandemic, which prosecutors did not oppose.
In an order late Friday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson granted a two-week delay, but no longer. She cited a sealed opinion, which both sides gave her permission to unseal Monday.
In the five-page document, Jackson said she denied Stone’s request because the U.S. Bureau of Prisons had already accorded Stone more than 60 days to surrender since the court denied his motion for a new trial in mid-April. The bureau also declined to allow another extension.
Prosecutors have opposed other prisoners’ requests for compassionate release during the pandemic, citing the absence of cases at the facilities where they are housed, including older prisoners such as Stone, Jackson said. She also noted that two defendants who received extensions and whose cases Stone cited were not convicted of threatening a witness, nor found to have violated court gag orders by abusing social media to “stoke potentially violent sentiment” against case participants, including posting an image of Jackson next to what appeared to be gun-sight crosshairs.
“At the end of the day, the guiding principle must be that Mr. Stone is entitled to no more and no less consideration than any other similarly situated convicted felon,” the judge wrote. However, she wrote, “It is fair to say that no one was contemplating that approving voluntary surrender [at Stone’s February sentencing] could lead to a possible six-month delay in reporting.”
Stone, a longtime GOP operative and friend of Trump’s, is expected to seek a stay of his 40-month prison sentence since he appealed his case in April to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Stone was convicted by a federal jury in Washington of lying during his September 2017 testimony to the House Intelligence Committee to conceal his central role in the 2016 Trump campaign’s efforts to learn about Democratic computer files hacked by Russia and made public by WikiLeaks to damage Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Stone was the last person charged in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia probe. Before Stone’s sentencing, Attorney General William P. Barr and senior Justice Department officials intervened to recommend a lower sentence for the longtime Trump ally, prompting all four front-line prosecutors to withdraw from the case and 2,600 former prosecutors to call for Barr to resign.