GOP senator defends Barr’s interference with Stone’s sentencing

Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo is seen on Capitol Hill in July 2017. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Michael Caputo, a former adviser to President Trump’s 2016 campaign and a longtime friend of Roger Stone, confirmed today that he is leading an effort to have Stone pardoned.

The “Pardon Roger Stone” group was organized to raise money for Stone and his family, collect signatures in favor of a Stone pardon and create an avenue for the White House to discuss clemency with Stone’s associates.  

“We’re raising money, raising awareness and assuring the White House that we stand by for contact when and if they’re ready,” Caputo said. 

Caputo has not yet been in contact with the White House or the Justice Department about a Stone pardon. But the committee is the latest effort in a public and private lobbying campaign to convince Trump to pardon Stone.

Stone, Trump’s longtime political adviser, was convicted on seven charges last year, including lying to Congress and witness tampering. He is set to be sentenced on Feb. 20 in Washington amid controversy over political intervention in his case. 

The money raised would be devoted to legal fees and the Stone family’s bills, Caputo said. 

Stone has already been raising money for a legal defense fund to pay his attorney fees. But he would likely hire new lawyers if he appeals his sentence. If Stone is sentenced to jail time, there are concerns about how he and his wife would get by financially, Caputo said. 

“They’re completely destitute; they have no money,” Caputo said of the Stone family.

What happened this week: The four prosecutors overseeing Stone’s case withdrew Tuesday in a mass revolt after top Justice Department officials undermined them by disavowing prosecutors’ recommendation that Stone face seven to nine years in prison.

Caputo said the new group has arranged a committee to meet with White House officials to discuss a potential pardon – if the White House is interested.

“The path is fraught with peril: Peril for Roger, peril for the President and peril for us,” Caputo said. “It’s a tightrope walk for all of us.”

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