A federal judge sentenced political operative Roger Stone to serve 40 months in jail on Thursday, accusing the long-time adviser to Donald Trump of "covering up for the president." U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson also delivered an implicit rebuke to Trump, whose attacks on the judge, jury and prosecutors in the trial roiled the Justice Department and sparked accusations the president was trying to interfere in a criminal case on behalf of a friend.
(SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "It was a whole set up, it was a disgrace for our country." (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "It was a very, very rough thing that happened to Roger Stone." Judge Jackson appeared to turn Trump's attacks back at him, saying, "there was nothing unfair, phony or disgraceful about the investigation or the prosecution." Stone declined to speak in his defense at sentencing.
As he left the courtroom Thursday, onlookers shouted, "lock him up." Stone told reporters he had nothing to say.
Shortly after the sentencing, Trump railed against the Roger Stone case and threw his support behind his friend... (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "This has not been a fair process...I'd love to see Roger exonerated.
And I'd love to see it happen because I personally think he was treated very unfairly." The strongest signal yet that Trump plans to pardon his friend, but he has so far continued to refrain from saying so outright.
(SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "I'm going to watch the process, I'm going to watch it very closely and at some point I will make a determination.
A jury found Stone guilty on seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction, and witness tampering in a case stemming from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Stone played a small role in Trump's 2016 campaign.
Prosecutors said Stone lied to Congressional investigators about his attempts to contact WikiLeaks, the website that released damaging emails about Trump's Democratic election rival Hillary Clinton that U.S. intelligence officials have concluded were stolen by Russian hackers.
The judge noted that Stone was not part of any conspiracy with Russia.
But she said Stone's effort to obstruct a congressional investigation "was deliberate." Prosecutors last week recommended Stone face up to nine years in jail.
That suggestion enraged the president, who publicly called it "very unfair." Attorney General William Barr quickly intervened and amended the recommendation.
But Barr's apparent acquiescence to Trump prompted four prosecutors to quit the case.
In an interview that week Barr said the president's tweets made it impossible for him to his job.
More than 2,000 former D-O-J employees have since signed a letter calling for Barr to resign.
Stone's flamboyant character was a feature of the trial, and the judge took note at his sentencing.
Judge Jackson also said Stone "knew exactly what he was doing" when he posted an image on social media showing cross-hairs over the judge's head.
She accused him of "threatening and intimidating conduct toward the court," which she called "intolerable to the administration of justice." Stone's lawyers have filed a motion for a new trial.
He will not begin his 40 month sentence until after a court hearing on that request.