(ConservativePeak.com) – The Roger Stone sentencing saga has come to an end. On Thursday, Stone — the longtime friend of President Donald Trump — was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison for his role in obstructing Congress during investigation into Russia meddling in the presidential election in 2016.
The three-year, four-month sentence is significantly less than the original recommendation of seven to nine years handed down by prosecutors, but still much longer than Trump was probably hoping for. Stone was also fined $20,000 and has two years of probation on his sentence as well.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court, who presided over the case, said the Department of Justice’s recommendation memo was well researched and thorough, but that their original recommendation was just “too harsh.”
There is speculation that the length of the sentence could draw the ire of Trump, who may choose to pardon Stone, who has been advising campaigns of presidents dating back to Richard Nixon.
During the sentencing hearing, Jackson said Stone, “took it upon himself to lie, to impede, to obstruct before the investigation was complete, in an endeavor to influence the result. The truth still exists. The truth still matters. Roger Stone insisted that it doesn’t.”
Despite being sentenced Thursday, Stone will not go directly to federal prison, though. His sentence will hang in the balance while Jackson makes a decision on a pending motion Stone’s attorneys have made for a new trial. The attorneys filed the claim last week following Trump’s accusation that one of the jurors in the trial had “significant bias.”
As part of her sentencing, Jackson took direct aim at the investigation itself, defending the “integrity” of what was done by investigators.
“There was nothing unfair about the investigation and the prosecution,” she said. “He [Stone] was prosecuted for covering up for the president … Any suggestion that the prosecution in this case did anything untoward, unethical or improper is incorrect.”
It’s been a crazy few weeks in the Stone sentencing saga. First, the original prosecutors of the Justice Department recommended a sentence of seven to nine years in jail. Trump wasn’t happy with that — he let his thoughts be known on Twitter — and neither was the DOJ.
Attorney General William Barr said the recommendation was not in line with what was discussed beforehand, and that the DOJ would be adjusting it. That led to all four prosecutors stepping down from the case, one of whom resigned from the department altogether.
Many people in Washington have since accused Trump of intervening in the case and forcing Barr to speak out against the recommendation. The House of Representatives even demanded Barr explain his actions in front of a committee, which he’ll apparently do next month.
While Stone’s sentence and punishment is technically on hold, it’s likely to only be delayed until Jackson rules that a new trial is not warranted. Still, though, it’s possible Trump decides to come to the aid of his long-time friend and pardon him for his crimes.