Trump ally Roger Stone to be sentenced as case roils Justice Dept.

Attorney General William Barr

US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson is scheduled to sentence Stone, whose career as a Republican operative has stretched from the Watergate scandal era of the early 1970s to Trump's campaign four years ago, at 10am local time (15:00 GMT).

Stone was convicted in November on all seven counts of an indictment that accused him of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian Federation to tip the 2016 election.

The charges stemmed from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation that detailed Russian meddling in the 2016 election to boost Mr Trump's candidacy.

Prosecutors had initially asked Stone to be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison, resting that recommendation on the severity of his crimes and behavior.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said on "Fox & Friends" on Thursday, the day former Trump adviser Roger Stone was set to be sentenced after the federal judge overseeing the case refused demands to delay the trial, that "only a pardon can fairly undo this mess".

In many ways, Stone's case had come to define Mueller's investigation.

The very same group teased Trump last month with a billboard truck decorated with the message "President Pence". First, U.S. Attorney General William Barr stepped in to override their malicious move.

Several American journalists and analysts have pointed out that the chief law enforcement officer of the USA is actually the Attorney General, the head of the Department of Justice. The Justice Department later amended their recommendation and called for a lesser sentence.

In Stone's initial sentencing memorandum filed February 10, prosecutors said Stone deserved a prison term lasting seven to nine years, in accordance with federal sentencing guidelines.

Trump made clear in subsequent posts on Twitter and in person that he didn't intend to stop and that he reserved the right to get involved at any time with Barr.

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The president has already commuted the sentence of almost a dozen people this week including former IL governor Rod Blagojevich, who was jailed for corruption, and a NY police chief imprisoned for tax fraud.

During Jackson's remarks, Stone, wearing a navy, double breasted suit with a light blue shirt and matching blue tie, stood with his three lawyers, his hands in his pockets, slightly slouching.

Complicating matters, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Crabb, who's now overseeing the case, reportedly shifted the Justice Department's posture again, appearing in court this morning and signaling support anew for the initial prosecutors' filing.

The revelation about Mr Barr's comments came on a day in which Mr Trump drew more for granting clemency in the cases of 11 people jailed in the U.S., an action critics said involved granting rewards to some of his friends.

Crabb said there had been a "miscommunication" between Barr and Timothy Shea, the former Barr aide who now serves as the acting U.S. Attorney in the nation's capital.

Notably, Judge Jackson did decide the sentencing would proceed as planned on Thursday, despite the defense's protestations. As a result, there has been speculation that Trump may eventually pardon Stone.

"I do make his job harder", Trump said. The second memo also acknowledged the ultimate sentence was up to the judge.

Stone was convicted for lying to the House specifically about his attempts to use a backchannel intermediary to communicate with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and about what he told the Trump campaign of those efforts.

He also lied about the existence of certain texts or emails.

Ultimately, Jackson calculated an offense level of 27, which, under federal guidelines, would mean a range of between around six or seven years in prison.

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