Stone Fears Virus in Prison, No Trump Response on Pardon Bid
(Bloomberg) -- Republican operative Roger Stone told a federal appeals court that the judge who denied his request for a two-month delay of his prison term had out-of-date information on coronavirus cases in the Georgia lockup where he’s due to spend 40 months.
Stone, convicted of lying to Congress during its probe of Russian election interference, is due to surrender July 14 at the federal correctional facility in the tiny town of Jesup, where infections have jumped.
In a filing on Friday, Stone urged the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington to delay his surrender date to Sept. 3, arguing that a health condition puts him at risk after 20 inmates and four staff members in Jesup contracted the deadly virus. When U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied his request for the delay, the facility with almost 1,400 inmates had no cases, he said.
Stone’s request came days after he issued a statement pleading with President Donald Trump to commute his sentence, which would allow him to remain free while he appeals his conviction. Trump has supported Stone, tweeting last month that his longtime ally was “a victim of a corrupt and illegal Witch Hunt.”
On Friday, Stone said in a text message that he hadn’t heard from anyone in the White House about his request.
Stone also blasted the Justice Department’s decision a day earlier to withdraw its support for his request. He said he’s being treated differently than other convicts who’ve had their surrender dates moved and accused the DOJ of claiming in “bad faith” that Stone’s request should be denied.
Stone argues the Jesup facility has carried out few tests and that some inmates are being released due to the increasing risk. The prison is now in “full quarantine,” according to Stone’s filing. The facility’s website says all visiting has been suspended until further notice.
“It is unconscionable for the government to argue that this court should ignore these new material facts and instead affirm the lower court’s decision based on very different material facts, when the difference literally is a life-threatening one for someone with Mr. Stone’s serious medical conditions,” Stone’s lawyer, Seth Ginsberg, said in the filing.
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