US & Canada

Roger Stone: Trump clemency order spares ally fine as well as jail

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Media captionRoger Stone reacts to Trump's decision to grant him clemency

US President Donald Trump spared long-time ally Roger Stone other penalties when he commuted his prison sentence last week, court documents show.

The published clemency order shows this includes the commuting of a $20,000 (£15,930) fine and a two-year term of supervised release. It does not, however, annul his criminal record.

Stone was convicted in 2019 of lying to Congress and witness tampering.

He had been due to report to a federal prison in Georgia on 14 July.

Speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Monday night, Stone said he believed his reprieve had saved him from "a near-death sentence".

"I was literally hours away from being sent to a Covid-infested prison in violation of the current Bureau of Prisons and DoJ [Department of Justice] policies," he said in his first TV appearance since Friday's presidential clemency.

He added: "I'm 67 years old, I've had a lifelong problem with respiratory problems."

He also told ABC News he had spoken to Mr Trump on Friday night: "[He] was very kind; it was a normal conversation. It wasn't stilted, it was brief. He asked how my wife was doing.

"He told me he signed an act of clemency which was a full commutation. He also said that it was a commutation rather than a pardon because Trump believes I did not get a fair trial, and he believes I have a good chance of being exonerated in an appeal - in other words, vacate my conviction, then it's up to the Justice Department if they want to retry the case."

A presidential pardon would have removed Stone's criminal conviction.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Trump told reporters at the White House: "I am getting rave reviews for what I did for Roger Stone."

However, some key political figures have expressed shock at the decision:

The clemency order was released in full on Monday after US District Judge Amy Jackson had ordered the government to explain the "scope" of President Trump's commutation of Stone.

The president's move came last week, just after a court had denied Stone's request to delay the start of his prison term.

The charges against Stone were linked to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

Stone was found guilty of lying to the House Intelligence Committee about his attempts to contact Wikileaks, the website that released damaging emails about Mr Trump's 2016 Democratic election rival Hillary Clinton.

US intelligence officials have concluded the messages were stolen by Russian hackers.

Stone is a veteran political operator and has worked with Republicans since the 1970s; he also famously sports a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back.

In the 1990s, Stone worked as a lobbyist for Mr Trump's casino business, and later helped Mr Trump's unsuccessful White House run in 2000.

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Image caption Stone helped Donald Trump in his failed bid for the presidency in 2000