In his first television appearance since the lifting of a 16-month-long gag order, former Trump adviser Roger Stone told Fox News host Tucker Carlson Friday that if he went to prison, it would be a “death sentence.”
Stone was convicted in 2019 for obstructing a congressional investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Throughout the trial, Stone claimed to be innocent of the charges and pleaded not guilty.
Although he was convicted, Stone’s legal team attempted to obtain a retrial which was denied by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Thursday.
“So at this point,” Stone said, “the judge has ordered me to surrender in two weeks and at 67 years old with some underlying health problems, including a history of asthma, I believe with the coronavirus it is essentially a death sentence.”
Stone said he felt the real reason he was prosecuted was that he “refused to bear false witness” against Trump.
“I wasn’t prosecuted because I was covering anything up for the president,” Stone said. “I was prosecuted because I refused to bear false witness against the president. I refused to dissemble, as the prosecutors wanted, about numerous phone calls between myself and candidate Trump in 2016.”
Newsweek reached out to Stone for comment.
After Stone’s verdict was announced, prosecutors from the Department of Justice recommended a prison sentence of up to nine years.
However, Attorney General William Barr overruled the prosecutors’ decision and called for Stone to receive a lighter sentence. In protest, the team of prosecutors resigned.
Jury foreperson Tomeka Hart came out of anonymity to defend the prosecutors. “It pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors,” Hart wrote in 2019. “They acted with the utmost intelligence, integrity, and respect for our system.”
After it was discovered that Hart had posted anti-Trump sentiments on her social media pages, Stone’s lawyers asked for a retrial on the grounds that Hart lied on her juror questionnaire about her political beliefs.
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s been very clear that all defendants are entitled to a jury that is impartial and indifferent,” Stone said Friday. “But in this case it is undisputable that the jury forewoman attacked both me and President Trump in 2019 social media postings, lied about that during jury selection and then later deleted her Facebook page to cover her trails.”
Stone’s request for a retrial was denied Thursday by federal judge Amy Berman Jackson, who ruled that Stone must report in person to serve his sentence within 14 days.
Jackson also said that Hart did “nothing wrong” during the jury selection process.
“The juror’s personal affiliation with Democratic politics was set forth in her written answers,” Jackson wrote in her Thursday ruling.
Stone’s order to prison came as President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen was expected to serve the remainder of his prison sentence at home due to the threat of coronavirus spread. Cohen was convicted in 2018 for supplying hush money to two women who claimed to have had sexual affairs with Trump.