Nets Fail to Admit Stone Judge Agreed With AG Barr’s Recommendation

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After spending days decrying Attorney General William Barr as a stooge for President Trump after he overruled overzealous federal prosecutors seeking a maximum of nine years in the sentencing of Roger Stone, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down a sentence in line with the recommendation Barr amended. Despite this fact, the liberal broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) made it seem as though Jackson was defying Barr.

On ABC’s World News Tonight, chief Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas carefully reconstructed what happened in the case to craft a narrative against Barr. “Federal prosecutors initially recommending that Stone receive a seven to nine-year prison sentence, only to be overruled by Attorney General William Barr,” he said.

He then boasted that “Stone alone faced the wrath of a scolding Judge” as he proceeded to read this quote: “The truth still exists. The truth still matters. Roger Stone's insistence that it doesn't, his belligerence, his pride in his own lies are a threat to our most fundamental institutions, to the foundations of our democracy. If it goes unpunished, everyone loses."

To back up that scolding, Thomas then noted Jackson “sentenced him to three years and four months in prison.” At no point did he precisely mention what Barr’s recommendation was, nor did he report how other federal prosecutors resubmitted the original recommendation.

Over on the CBS Evening News, where anchor Norah O’Donnell had lied a week ago by asserting Barr wanted “to keep [Stone] out of jail,” chief Justice correspondent Jeff Pegues spun Stone’s sentencing this way:

 

 

Always ready for the cameras, Roger Stone smiled as he left court today, but inside he was silent and emotionless as Judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down the 40-month sentence. Jackson, who had been pressured by the President on Twitter to go easy on Stone, said the longtime presidential friend was "prosecuted not for standing up for the President, but for covering up for the President."

At no point did Pegues mention Barr’s role.

Meanwhile, on NBC Nightly News, Justice correspondent Pete Williams noted what the other networks did not, that new prosecutors resubmitted the original recommendation. “But prosecutors urged the judge to consider all the criminal conduct listed in the Justice Department's original sentencing recommendation. The one submitted before Attorney General William Barr directed the government to urge a less harsh punishment,” he reported.

“The sentence, three and a third years in prison, well below the maximum under federal guidelines,” Williams noted after he too hyped Judge Jackson’s remarks.

And while Williams failed to mention that Jackson agreed with the Attorney General, he played a soundbite of former Obama official and federal attorney Chuck Rosenberg, who lauded the sentence but chided President Trump. “I worry that people won't believe this a fair outcome. Though I do believe it is, intervention from political leaders casts a doubt on what happens in federal court,” he told NBC.

The networks refused to give Barr credit because the kerfuffle was just another talking point in their anti-Trump narrative; they knew many former career DOJ officials understood the original sentence recommendation was too much.

The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:

ABC’s World News Tonight
February 20, 2020
6:34:27 p.m. Eastern

DAVID MUIR: Meantime tonight, President Trump's long-time associate Roger Stone sentenced today. Stone convicted on seven counts, including lying to Congress. The President had said federal prosecutors had asked for too much prison time. Well, today, the judge, before handing own her sentence, issued a blistering rebuke to Stone, and then her sentence. Here's ABC's chief Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas.

[Cuts to video]

PIERRE THOMAS: Roger Stone, the so-called dirty trickster and long-time friend of President Trump, smiling as he walked into court today amid cheers and jeers.

CROWD: Traitor!

THOMAS: But the smile drained from his face as he got a blistering dressing down from Judge Amy Berman Jackson. Jackson making clear Stone's conviction on seven felony, including lying to Congress and witness tampering, warranted severe punishment. The Judge bluntly saying Stone, "Was not prosecuted as some have claimed, for standing up for the President. He was prosecuted for covering up for the President." Trump has been sounding off on the case for weeks.

(…)

THOMAS: Federal prosecutors initially recommending that Stone receive a seven to nine-year prison sentence, only to be overruled by Attorney General William Barr.

Did you talk to the President at all about your decision regarding your recommendations?

ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR: Never.

THOMAS: But today, Stone alone faced the wrath of a scolding Judge. "The truth still exists. The truth still matters. Roger Stone's insistence that it doesn't, his belligerence, his pride in his own lies are a threat to our most fundamental institutions, to the foundations of our democracy. If it goes unpunished, everyone loses."

The Judge sentenced him to three years and four months in prison.

(…)

 

CBS Evening News
February 20, 2020
6:34:31 p.m. Eastern

JEFF PEGUES: Norah, that sentencing was really extraordinary. During the two-and-a-half-hour hearing, the judge repeatedly scolded Roger Stone for witness tampering and lying to Congress.

[Cuts to video]

Always ready for the cameras, Roger Stone smiled as he left court today, but inside he was silent and emotionless as Judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down the 40-month sentence. Jackson, who had been pressured by the President on Twitter to go easy on Stone, said the longtime presidential friend was "prosecuted not for standing up for the President, but for covering up for the President."

(…)

NBC Nightly News
February 20, 2020
7:02:10 p.m. Eastern

(…)

PETE WILLIAMS: 13 months after he was arrested by the FBI, Roger Stone a former Trump campaign advisor came to court to learn his fate. His lawyers said given his age, 67 and declining health he should get at most home detention.

But prosecutors urged the judge to consider all the criminal conduct listed in the Justice Department's original sentencing recommendation. The one submitted before Attorney General William Barr directed the government to urge a less harsh punishment. Stone said nothing in court today perhaps hoping his lawyers could get him a new trial.

(…)

WILLIAMS: The sentence, three and a third years in prison, well below the maximum under federal guidelines.

CHUCK ROSENBERG (former U.S. attorney): I worry that people won't believe this a fair outcome. Though I do believe it is, intervention from political leaders casts a doubt on what happens in federal court.

(…)

NB Daily Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Jeff Pegues Pierre Thomas Pete Williams Bill Barr

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