When he commuted the federal criminal sentence of Roger Stone, Donald Trump probably thought he was doing his longtime friend a huge favor, and he did indeed keep Stone from having to serve a single day in federal prison.
But that’s only half the story when it comes to Roger Stone, who is now facing being charged in the state of New York. And with legal experts urging prosecutors in the Empire State to indict and try Stone on several charges, it seems very likely that Stone is still facing significant legal exposure.
Two distinguished attorneys, Gerald B. Lefcourt and Robert C. Gottlieb, have written an op-ed for CNN.com in which they specifically call for New York to prosecute Stone, noting:
“Bringing a new case against Stone is possible thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature for Assembly Bill 6653. Signed into law last October, AB6653 enables New York district attorneys to prosecute what effectively amounts to certain friends and family of any president who pardoned them for federal convictions. Among the people who can be prosecuted are associates with information relevant to a civil or criminal investigation of the president.
“That would be Roger Stone.”
The most serious state charge Stone could be facing in New York is that of witness intimidation for what he said to Randy Credico, whose life was directly threatened by Stone in no uncertain terms:
“The (federal) indictment states that Stone allegedly told Credico to ‘prepare to die,’ and that he should either avoid testifying by taking the Fifth Amendment, or he should do like the character in The Godfather Part II, Frank Pentangeli, and lie.”
Credico, it should be noted, lives in New York, so there’s a case to be made of a threat against a resident of the state who was also a witness in the case against Stone. It’s almost a slam dunk prosecution, with Credico providing the testimony that could send Stone to prison for anywhere from 8 to 25 years.
So while Roger Stone may be breathing the sweet air of freedom at the moment, don’t be surprised if he’s back in court again very soon, having felony charges read against him with no way of getting bailed out by his buddy, the president. That would serve as a powerful lesson to anyone who thinks they can get away with a crime just because they have a friend/co-conspirator in the White House.
Lock him up!