By Erin Maxwell || Staff Writer
This past Thursday, Donald Trump’s longtime political confidant Roger Stone was sentenced to over three years in federal prison for obstruction of Congress, witness tampering, and false statements. The sentence is one of the more serious ones handed out as a result of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference. The charges, in this case, pertain to Stone’s dishonesty to Congress when making statements about the Trump campaign’s theft of and benefit from Democratic Party emails.
Stone and his defense lawyers have actively sought to avoid any prison time, citing his lack of criminal record and his traits as a citizen, even going so far as to say “the process really to some extent has already been the punishment” according to Politico. Donald Trump seems to agree with this opinion, arguing that the jury and court had an anti-Trump administration bias. He has openly criticized the prosecutors and Justice Department’s prosecution. On Twitter, Trump stated “This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice.” Some have argued these tweets lend themselves to the politicization of the Department of Justice and potentially even greater obstruction of justice.
So far, three men have been sentenced in connection with the Mueller cases. Paul Manafort was sentenced to seven and a half years, Rick Gates to 45 days, and Micheal Cohen getting 3 years for similar charges. Federal prosecutors generally put together sentence recommendations from calculations and factors detailed in a 600-page manual. The threat of perceived politicization pulls at the very framework of justice in the United States system. Since the verdict overruling their suggestion on Thursday, all four prosecutors working on the Stone case have stepped down from their position, with one even resigning from his position within the department in protest.
The Justice Department has since issued a memorandum stating that the prosecutor’s recommendation was inappropriate and that they took the proper steps to restore justice. However, many still see the continuation of the obstruction, although Trump has maintained that he stays “out of things to a degree people wouldn’t believe,” according to ABC.
With the maximum sentence for Stone’s crimes being 50 years, the sentence handed down after Trump’s involvement has sent waves through Capitol Hill, as many point fingers at continuing unwarranted corruption of the highest office in the country.
First-year Erin Maxwell is a staff writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.