The judge presiding over the case of President Donald Trump's confidant Roger Stone said his sentencing hearing will move forward as planned on Thursday, but indicated she will postpone the execution of the sentence, pending resolution of the defense's motion for a new trial.
Stone's legal team has requested a new trial and on Tuesday lobbied to delay the sentencing. But with Stone present on speaker phone from his lawyer's office, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that delaying the sentencing "would not be a prudent thing to do."
"We've already put the sentencing off once," Judge Jackson said, adding that it makes sense to proceed "since there is no harm that would flow to the defendant."
Jackson also noted that there is now law requiring judges to rule on new trial motions before issuing a sentence.
The decision by Jackson came hours after Trump tweeted in defense of his longtime ally and said Stone's conviction “should be thrown out.”
The barrage of tweets about the case Tuesday came days after Trump earned a public rebuke from his own attorney general, William Barr, who had said the president's tweets were “making it impossible” for Barr to do his job.
Trump tweeted Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano's comment that the jury appears to have been biased against Trump and calling out Judge Amy Berman Jackson by name, saying “almost any judge in the country” would throw out the conviction.
Trump added in a subsequent tweet. “Everything having to do with this fraudulent investigation is badly tainted and, in my opinion, should be thrown out.”
Stone was convicted in November of a seven-count indictment that accused him of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Jackson on Thursday.
Prosecutors had recommended a tough sentence of between seven to nine years in federal prison. But Barr reversed that decision and recommended a less harsh punishment, prompting the entire prosecution team to resign from the case.
Barr later denied that Trump's Twitter denunciation of the sentencing recommendation had influenced his decision; in an interview with ABC News, Barr said he had not been asked by Trump to look into the case.