Roger Stone case: judge orders phone hearing after prosecutors quit – report
The judge presiding over the case of Donald Trump ally Roger Stone has reportedly ordered both sides to participate in a conference call on Tuesday.
US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued the order for the phone hearing on Sunday, according to Politico. Stone, 67, is the sixth former Trump aide to be convicted in cases prompted by Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
It follows a tumultuous week for US justice in which all four lawyers in the prosecution team, Aaron Zelinsky, Jonathan Kravis, Adam Jed and Michael Marando, resigned from the case in protest after their sentencing recommendation of seven to nine years was overruled by the Justice Department.
In their court filing on Monday prosecutors had argued that Stone – who was found guilty in November of seven crimes including obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lying to Congress – has showed “contempt for this court and the rule of law”.
But the following day Trump claimed in a tweet: “The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!”
Hours later, on Tuesday afternoon, a new court filing was released, proposing that the sentence guidelines for Stone be cut.
The intervention has prompted Democrats to request an independent investigation and over 1,000 former US justice department officials calling on attorney general William Barr to resign.
Barr, a Trump loyalist, claimed in an interview with ABC News last week that the president’s tweets were “making it impossible for me to do my job”.
Meanwhile, defense attorneys for Stone last week filed a second motion for a new trial. The first was rejected by Jackson last year.
Stone is due to be sentenced in Washington on Thursday morning but, following last week’s developments, it is unclear whether or not Jackson will continue as planned.
On Friday the judge issued an order for the government to respond to the new sealed trial motion by midnight on Tuesday.
Judge Jackson’s chambers did not respond to the Guardian’s request for comment.