U.S. President Donald Trump denounced federal prosecutors Tuesday after they recommended that one of his oldest friends, political trickster Roger Stone, be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison linked to his conviction of offenses related to the 2016 presidential election.
"This is a horrible and very unfair situation," Trump said on Twitter. "The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!"
Stone's political skulduggery on behalf of Republican candidates dates to the 1960s. He was convicted in November of all seven charges he faced, including lying to Congress about his attempts to find out about hacked Democratic emails during the election four years ago that were aimed at undermining the candidacy of Democrat Hillary Clinton and also threatening a witness in the case.
Prosecutors said the seven-to-nine-year sentence recommended for the 67-year-old Stone is "consistent with the applicable" federal sentencing guidelines, and "would accurately reflect the seriousness of his crimes and promote respect for the law.”
Stone's lawyers are calling for probation, pointing to their client's age and his lack of a criminal history. He is scheduled to be sentenced next week.
Prosecutors said the recommended sentence “will send the message that tampering with a witness, obstructing justice and lying in the context of a congressional investigation on matters of critical national importance are not crimes to be taken lightly.”
They said that Stone "obstructed Congress’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, lied under oath and tampered with a witness. And when his crimes were revealed by the indictment in this case, he displayed contempt for this court and the rule of law.”
Trump gave no indication whether he might pardon Stone, but did not rule it out in a December comment, when he described the prosecutors in the case as "dirty cops" and "evil people."
Stone is one of the more colorful figures in American politics. He proudly sports a tattoo on his back of former President Richard Nixon, the only U.S. leader to ever resign, leaving office in 1974 in the midst of the Watergate political scandal just ahead of his certain impeachment in the House of Representatives.