Roger Stone, a political consultant and longtime confidant of President Donald Trump, has dropped his appeal of felony convictions for lying to Congress and witness tampering, a month after Trump commuted his prison sentence.
“My attorneys have convinced me that the odds of victory were slim and the risk of being subjected to both an unfair appeal and perhaps an unfair second trial before the same Judge was just too great a risk,” Stone said in a statement posted Tuesday on his website.
His lawyers filed a notice withdrawing the appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Monday night, less than an hour before a deadline for a brief outlining their appeal arguments, according to Politico.
Stone was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison and a $20,000 fine for charges that included lying to congressional investigators looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Prosecutors initially recommended imprisonment for seven to nine years, but the term was cut to a little more than three years by Attorney General William Barr.
Trump commuted Stone’s sentence in July, days before he was to have reported to a federal prison in Georgia.
“Roger Stone is a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at the time. “There was never any collusion between the Trump Campaign, or the Trump Administration, with Russia.”
Stone’s announcement on Tuesday came shortly before the Senate Intelligence Committee released a final report on its bipartisan investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The report mentions Stone extensively by name and details his efforts to secure information from WikiLeaks about its release of hacked Democratic Party emails and documents for Trump’s benefit.
According to the report, Trump’s then-campaign chief Paul Manafort directed Stone to contact WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange personally.
Trump, when questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller, said he was not aware of his campaign’s efforts to contact WikiLeaks. But the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report concluded that Trump not only knew of the efforts, but spoke with Stone about them.
“Despite Trump’s recollection, the Committee assesses that Trump did, in fact, speak with Stone about WikiLeaks and with members of his Campaign about Stone’s access to WikiLeaks on multiple occasions,” the report said.
Though the report said some Trump campaign advisers willingly embraced help from Russia, the Senate panel did not allege a conspiracy between the campaign and Moscow to help Trump win the election.