Las Vegas (CNN) – The president of U.SDonald Trump said Thursday that he will not grant pardon to his friend and former collaborator Roger Stone at this time, saying he wants the process to take place before making a decision.
“I’m not going to do anything in terms of the great powers granted to a president of the United States, I want the process to develop, I think it’s the best,” Trump said in Las Vegas. “Because I would love to see Roger exonerated and I would love it to happen because I personally believe he was treated very unfairly.”
The president did not rule out an eventual pardon or commutation of sentence, but said the process should take place first.
“At some point I will make a decision, but Roger Stone and everyone must be treated fairly. And this has not been a fair process, ”Trump said.
Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison on Thursday. He was convicted at the end of last year for lying to Congress and threatening a witness regarding his efforts for Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Trump also delivered a full defense of his lifelong friend: “They said he lied, but other people also lied.”
The president made his comments before an audience of ex-prisoners who graduated from a program designed to give criminals a second chance in society and the workforce.
Trump’s complaint against the criminal justice system met with curious looks from some of the graduates and their families, particularly when he declared: “These people know what a bad jury is.”
The place for the speech was also notable, with the president throwing a critique at the police, referring to “dirty police” at one point, from a room inside the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
“Roger has a very good chance of exoneration in my opinion,” Trump said at the inmate reintegration event.
He called Stone a “character.”
“He’s an intelligent guy, he’s a little different, but sometimes they’re the most interesting. But he is a good person. His family is fantastic, ”Trump said at the criminal justice reform event.
Trump attacked the jury officer in Stone’s case, calling her “totally corrupt” and “anti-Trump activist.” She also hinted, without evidence, that she could have let the court down by not honestly answering the questions in the jury’s selection by being honest about her political views.
The jury spokeswoman, Tomeka Hart, was News earlier this month when he defended the four prosecutors who withdrew from the case in response to the recommendation for a ruling modified by the leaders of the Department of Justice.
The president added that what happened to Stone and his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, “destroyed the lives of many people and I’m here to make a fair system.”
Prosecutors had initially requested that Stone be sentenced from seven to nine years in prison, based on that recommendation about the seriousness of his crimes and behavior. However, Trump called that lawsuit “very unfair” in a tweet at night. The secretary of Justice, William Barr, annulled the recommendation the next day, saying that seven years would be too hard.
Although Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s sentence was much lower than the original request, the judge said prosecutors had done the right thing when they followed the guidelines in their original efforts.
None of the prosecutors who won the case at the trial signed the revised judgment memorandum, and two new supervisors from the Washington United States Attorney’s Office were assigned, stating how politically charged the case has become within the Department of Justice.
New prosecutor John Crabb Jr. said he wanted to apologize to the court for the confusion.
“This confusion was not caused by the original test equipment,” he said. “The original trial team was authorized to present” the original judgment memo.
Crabb said he supports the original memorandum and added: “It was made in good faith.”
The president also tried to distance himself from Stone, claiming that Stone did not participate in his 2016 presidential campaign.
“Roger was never involved in Trump’s campaign for president. He was not involved. I think that from the beginning, long before I announced it, he may have done a small consulting job or something, but he was not involved when I ran for president, ”Trump said.
Stone worked with Trump during his first presidential race in the late 1990s. He was hired for the campaign in 2015, but fired him later that year.