The judge establishes the surrender date of July 14, the immediate confinement in the home of Roger Stone

Jackson said he intends to release a fuller opinion next week, unless Stone or prosecutors object to the case. But for now, his order represents a strong rejection of Stone’s plea.

Jackson sentenced Stone to his 40-month sentence in February after his conviction for repeatedly lying to Congress and intimidating a witness to prevent the House’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

After his sentencing, Stone’s attorney urged the Bureau of Prisons to consider Stone’s health by setting his surrender date, and BOP responded by agreeing to bring him in on June 30. But earlier this week, Stone moved to delay the date of his report by another two months, citing the risk of coronavirus in federal jails.

Jackson immediately began a search investigation into the matter, pressuring Stone and the United States Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia for details on Stone’s request for a delay. He also asked for details about the spread of the coronavirus in FCI-Jesup.

What he received was evidence that no cases had appeared at the Georgia facility, a fact he emphasized in his order. A report date of July 14, he noted, gives the defendant seventy-five days after the date of the original report.

Jackson also purposely hinted that inmates at the facilities where Stone faces incarceration might be so afraid of Stone introducing the coronavirus, after spending time on the road and in Florida, a recent access point for the coronavirus, that he has at collapse it there. Your order will send Stone to your home for approximately two weeks, the standard self-quarantine period for people potentially exposed to the coronavirus.

Jackson’s order came despite prosecutors saying they had no objection to Stone’s request for another 60-day delay in his due date, citing policies implemented across the department in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is currently the policy of the United States Department of Justice … not to oppose the defendant’s request to extend a voluntary surrender date for up to 60 days, unless the defendant files a immediate flight or public safety risk, “the United States Attorney’s office for Washington, DC said in a late-night presentation. “For that reason, and for that reason alone, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia does not oppose defendant Roger J. Stone’s request to extend his voluntary release date by up to 60 days.”

In his application, Stone, 67, cited the health risks he would face behind bars. And in a series of Instagram posts, Stone increased the rhetoric, claiming that he would face “certain” death if his prison sentence continues on schedule.

However, Jackson quickly made it clear that he is not accepting Stone’s claim to the letter. After Stone’s initial motion to delay his sentence, Jackson ordered the US Attorney’s office for Washington, DC, which processed the case, to submit its own weigh-in filing on the matter and also to provide details. about recent tests for coronavirus in federal prison.

In a subsequent order on Wednesday, Jackson also asked the government to show him the existing policies of the Department of Justice or US attorneys on how to handle defendants who request delays in their due dates. to the coronavirus.

And on Thursday, Jackson asked more, ordering Stone to provide details about what he told the Bureau of Prisons that he set his reporting date for June 30 after Jackson denied his motion for a new trial in mid-2015. April.

In its filing, the United States Attorney’s office indicated that Stone’s legal team had asked the Bureau of Prisons for the date of June 30 on April 17, citing Stone’s health and risk of coronavirus. BOP agreed.

“At no time since that original designation, did the United States Attorney’s Office play a role or attempt to influence whether BOP should revise the June 30 delivery date,” the government said in its filing Thursday by the night.

While prosecutors said the two-month delay was consistent with the Bureau of Prisons guide issued in March, they did not provide the judge with a copy of that policy.

When POLITICO asked the Bureau of Prisons in March whether concerns related to the virus had caused delays in defendants’ dates to begin their prison terms, a spokesperson replied: “People with questions about voluntary surrender should consult your attorneys and the US Marshals Service for instructions. “

Given the history of the Stone case, Jackson appears to be deeply suspicious of both sides, demanding detailed justification and written support from the defense and prosecution for the kinds of claims that judges often accept based solely on the opinion of lawyers.

A former prosecutor in Stone’s case, Aaron Zelinsky, added to the air of intrigue surrounding the matter when he told Congress this week that he was under repeated political pressure to give Stone a “break” during his February sentence for his conviction for serially lying to Congress and intimidating a witness to prevent a House investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Stone also raised suspicions about his situation by stating in one of his Instagram videos that his request to delay the report date of June 30 had been rejected by the U.S. attorney’s office, while in the court filing de Stone on Tuesday, his attorneys indicated that the U.S. prosecutor would not object to a two-month delay.

Attorney General William Barr has rejected the suggestion that Trump’s policy or favoritism played a role in his decision to nullify Zelinsky and other prosecutors to recommend a lesser sentence for Stone.

“I was the one who made the decision in that case because there was a dispute,” Barr told NPR on Thursday. “And generally what happens is that disputes, especially in high-profile cases, are brought before the attorney general. It’s not unusual for there to be a dispute in a high-profile case and to be resolved by the attorney general.”

But Zelinsky told Congress that the circumstances were virtually unprecedented. Four-line prosecutors handling the case relied on standard sentencing guidelines to recommend a Feb. 7 to 9-year sentence for Stone on Feb. 10, a sentence they said reflected his protracted obstruction of a crucial security investigation. national. Trump tweeted just before 3 a.m. the next day that the sentence was unfair, and later that day, a senior Justice Department official submitted a revised sentencing recommendation that left the jail term to the judge, but qualified the original proposal as too harsh. All four prosecutors handling the case withdrew, and one resigned entirely from the Justice Department.

While there was broad agreement that the recommendation for a 67-year-old first-time offender was abrupt, Jackson acknowledged that prosecutors were largely subject to sentencing guidelines. She questioned the effort of Justice Department leaders to override line prosecutors and said they had largely calculated correctly, but ultimately opted for a shorter sentence that she said was more appropriate.

President Trump also indicated that he plans to forgive or commute Stone’s sentence, saying on Twitter that Stone can “sleep well.”

“Roger was the victim of a corrupt and illegal witch hunt, which will become the largest political crime in history,” Trump tweeted in response to a supporter call for “RT for a full pardon for Roger Stone.” “You can sleep well at night!”

The Bureau of Prisons website that tracks coronavirus outbreaks in the federal prison system does not report any past or present cases among inmates or Jesup staff. An official update published online Thursday said 20 prisoners there had been evaluated and found negative, while 10 tests are still pending, but prosecutors said in their filing that all tests administered were negative.

Nationwide, about 6,400 federal prisoners have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 89 have died.