Roger Stone: Why did Trump commute the sentence rather than pardon him?

Title kind of says it all: President Trump chose to commute the sentence of Roger Stone rather than pardon him.

The commutation was thorough, Stone will suffer no penalty for his conviction (I do not think, correct me if I am wrong). So, this is basically a pardon that is not a pardon.

I guess it stays on Stone’s permanent record but I doubt he cares much about that.

So why choose to commute rather than pardon Stone?

Stone cannot be compelled to give testimony against Trump,because he can plead the 5th.

With a pardon, Stone would not be able to plead the 5th, because there is no possibility that he could incriminate himself; he’s already pled guilty (via the pardon).

Stone has bragged that he has dirt on Trump. Stone knows stuff. Now he can’t testify against Trump.

The mob boss has the power to get any of his henchmen out of trouble for committing crimes to get him elected. This message is a very strong one for anyone thinking of committing crimes in the next few months in order to get Trump elected. Very Strong.

ETA: I’m confident that Trump did not think of this himself. He’s far too stupid. Someone advised him to do it this way.

Can’t testify, or can’t be compelled to testify?

Isn’t there a waiting period for people who are actually convicted? You can be granted a general pardon for things you’ve not been convicted of, which was why Ford was able to pardon Nixon (it was actually more like amnesty than pardon), but IIRC, the reason Carter commuted Patty Hearst’s sentence, without pardoning her, was that a certain amount of time needed to pass after the conviction-- this is why Clinton could finally pardon her on his last day in office. So Trump may not have the power to pardon Stone-- albeit, he could have before trial.

Someone please correct me if I’m wrong-- this is a vague memory of a print article I read at the time of the Clinton pardon. Google-fu is failing me now as I try to look it up.

Presumably the government could offer him immunity which takes away his ability to plead the 5th.

Also, I read somewhere that because his sentence was commuted Stone remains open to further prosecution (which would not happen on a pardon).

If so I admit I have no idea how that all works (assuming it is true which it may not be).

There’s a Pit thread “tRump pardons Stone” in which I ask exactly the OP’s question at Post #16.

See there and the several replies after that for additional suggestions and speculations.

One popular thought is Trump (or Trump’s advisors) concerned how it would play with the voters, and might impinge his re-election chances. But after the election, it’s suggested that Trump will then full-pardon him.

I believe he said he only wanted a commutation because he wanted to keep fighting the conviction itself.

I don’t think we know yet. The judge wondered the same thing, and has asked to see the actual text of the commutation but I don’t think it’s been released yet.

Not as a matter of law. The Department of Justice, to whom the President normally delegates work on pardons, might have a waiting period policy, but the President is not constrained by this.

Never mind, they told the judge yesterday afternoon that the entire sentence was commuted.

Yeah, this doesn’t remind me of what a Mob boss would do if he could at all. Not in the least.

But he is still a convicted felon. No gun ownership and possibly no voting rights.

But whether pardoned or sentence commuted he could still be compelled to give testimony not against himself but against the yellow menace. And if he told new lies, he could be tried for that too. No?

[quote=“Lord_Feldon, post:7, topic:915266”]

I think the question was, even though he doesn’t go to jail, might he still be required to be on parole for some time.

So, this mean no parole time either, we suppose?

I saw another article or two suggesting that, like Trump Hisself, Stone might be separately prosecuted in New York at the state level for some of his shit.

ETA: Excuse me if the sequence of [quote] and [/quote] tags is utterly fucked up in the above, but I’ve had it with trying to get multi-quote tags in the right places around here.

I don’t understand this answer.

The fifth amendment grants the right not to self-incriminate. Where there is no danger of self-incrimination it does not apply, and a witness may be compelled to give evidence.

Stone has already been tried. Is there any way he can be tried again? Doesn’t double jeopardy apply? Can’t he basically confess everything with no danger of further prosecution?

Also, courts frequently grant immunity to a witness. The witness can then be compelled to testify. Self-incrimination is no longer an issue. Why couldn’t this be done?

My understanding is that Stone can might still be prosecuted by others (states) so he is not off the hook and can, presumably, still plead the 5th.

Prosecutors can grant immunity but, while it certainly happens, they often seem reluctant. I think they want to KNOW that the person getting immunity can deliver the goods sufficient to get someone further up the chain.

I’m confident Trump didn’t think of it either, and also confident that Trump is very stupid. But I am not convinced that Trump did not think of it because he is very stupid. Because then I would have to say that I am very stupid, because I didn’t know this either. This is all just a long-winded reply to say “thanks” for enlightening me on this matter. :slight_smile:

Since Stone has already been convicted, doesn’t that eliminate his risk of self-incrimination? He’s already been convicted, he can’t be tried on that same charge again.

If he lies again he can be convicted again. If he doesn’t lie, he could give damaging testimony against Trump. This applies whether he is pardoned or has his sentence commuted.

Stone could very well be guilty of many more similar crimes that he hasn’t even been accused of yet, let alone indicted or tried or convicted (or pardoned). If the run his mouth too much, he could well incriminate himself of crimes we don’t even know about yet.

Trump is an idjit but has some good lawyers around him. Occasionally he might even listen to them - especially when doing so would be in his obvious self-interest.

This doesn’t make sense to me. Stone was convicted of a series of discrete criminal acts. Why would pardoning those crimes (which were essentially process crimes) give Stone immunity with respect to any other criminal activity he was aware of? I’m not an expert on pardons, and I understand that they can be pretty broad, but I don’t think they need to be… and there must be some limit on their scope.

(I also don’t understand your theory someone who has “pled guilty” does not have Fifth Amendment rights, but someone who was found guilty and convicted – as Stone was – still does).