A federal judgey demanded more information about President Donald Trump’s decision to commute the prison sentence of long-time ally Roger Stone.
US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered that the parties provide her by Tuesday with a copy of the executive order that commuted Stone’s sentence.
She also asked for clarity about the scope of the clemency, including whether it covers just his prison sentence or also the two-year period of supervised release that was part of his sentence.
Hours after the judge’s directive, the Justice Department submitted to the court a two-page order making clear that the clemency extended to Stone’s prison sentence and his supervised release.
In the order, posted on the website of the Justice Department’s pardon attorney office, Mr Trump wrote that justice would not be served were Stone “to remain confined to his home or serve the said sentence, and the safety of the community will not be compromised if he is released from home confinement and clemency is granted”.
Mr Trump commuted Stone’s 40-month prison sentence on Friday evening, days before he was to report to prison.
Stone was convicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation with making false statements, tampering with a witness and obstructing politicians who were examining Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Although presidents have broad authority to commute prison sentences and issue pardons, the brief order on Monday from Ms Jackson, who presided over Stone’s trial last year, makes clear the judge still is seeking information and clarity about the clemency, including the actual executive order from the White House.
In a separate case, a federal judge has resisted the Justice Department’s request to dismiss the criminal case against Michael Flynn, Mr Trump’s first national security adviser, even though Mr Flynn pleaded guilty during Mr Mueller’s investigation to lying to the FBI.
Democrats lambasted Mr Trump’s decision as having undermined the rule of law, and Mr Mueller himself defended the Stone prosecution in a Washington Post opinion piece in which he said Stone “remains a convicted felon, and rightly so”.