In an order and sealed opinion late Friday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson granted a two-week delay. Prosecutors had not opposed Stone’s request for a delay until Sept. 3, saying the Justice Department’s policy during the pandemic has been to grant up to a 60-day extension upon defendants’ request “without respect to age, health, or other COVID-19 risk factors.”
In a short public notice, Jackson said she agreed to a two-week extension, with the reasoning explained in a sealed opinion; she asked whether both sides would agree to unseal that opinion next week.
“This affords the defendant seventy-five days beyond his original report date,” Jackson said in the notice, pointing out that she had originally ordered Stone to surrender to prison within two weeks after she denied his motion for a new trial in mid-April.
Jackson also ordered Stone to remain under home confinement until July 14, in accordance with Justice Department policy and “the strong medical recommendation submitted” by Stone’s defense. Jackson’s notice indicated that the delay would allow Stone time to quarantine himself to ensure he did not take the novel coronavirus from his home in South Florida to the prison.
Stone, a longtime GOP operative and friend of Trump’s, was 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.
The judge’s order came days after a federal prosecutor testified in a congressional hearing that top Justice Department officials had pressured government lawyers to give the longtime Trump adviser “a break” in his sentencing.
Briefing for Stone’s appeal is expected to continue into October, making any decision unlikely before the presidential election. Trump has also strongly suggested that he will pardon Stone.
Stone has been out on bail since Jackson sentenced him in February and denied his request for a new trial in mid-April.
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, the last defendant charged in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, was sentenced to three years and four months in prison.
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.