Friday, February 21, 2020

"The truth still matters"

...US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson chastised the president and the nation's top prosecutor shortly before she sentenced Roger Stone to three years and four months behind bars for crimes committed during the special counsel and congressional investigations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Stone was "not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the president," Jackson told a packed court room. "He was prosecuted for covering up for the president."

The judge added that Stone "lied and sought to impede production of information not to some secret anti-Trump cabal but to Congress," which she noted was in Republican control at the time.

..."Roger Stone took it upon himself to lie, impede, to obstruct," the judge said, adding that his actions undermined the government's ability to thwart foreign interference in elections. "The defendant lied about a matter of great national and international significance. This was not a campaign of hijinks."

...Jackson defended the original prosecution team as having acted professionally. She said their original sentencing brief was appropriate, even if its reasoning resulted in too stiff of a prison term.

"The truth still exists, the truth still matters," Jackson said. "Roger Stone's insistence that it doesn't, his belligerence, his pride in his own lies are a threat to our most fundamental institutions, to the foundations of our democracies. If it goes unpunished it will not be a victory for one political party; everyone loses."

...Stone made a name for himself in Republican circles dating back to the 1970s for his flamboyant personality and controversial claims. He still sports a large tattoo on his back of President Nixon, who was forced to resign during the Watergate scandal...

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