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Roger Stone drops appeal against felony convictions for lying

Roger Stone dropped his case Tuesday appealing against seven federal felony charges for lying to Congress in the midst of the investigation into ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign.

While Stone said in a post published on his website on Tuesday that he felt there was not much to gain by going forward with an appeal, it also comes about a month after Trump already commuted Stone’s sentence.

‘It is time for me to move on with my life with my family, friends, and supporters,’ he wrote in a lengthy statement on the matter. ‘I regret not going forward with the appeal to fully expose all that happened, with the hope that by doing so, I could help prevent it from happening to anyone else ever again; but I had to decide based on what is best for me and my family.’

He also expressed that the cards are stacked against him at the U.S. District Court level in Washington, signaling he believes he would lose the appeal regardless.

‘The political taint that exists in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, from the prosecutors to the judge to the jury pool, is so deep and abiding that the possibility of achieving a just result on the merits is as nonexistent as it was when this process played out the first time,’ the former 2016 Trump campaign adviser continued.

Stone’s attorneys submitted a notice on Monday night withdrawing the appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

The retraction came about a month after Trump spared Stone a 40-month prison sentence accompanied by a $20,000 fine by commuting his sentence.

Trump previewed Monday that he would pardon a ‘very, very important’ person on Tuesday, sparking speculation it had something to do with Flynn’s case.

The president added that it would not be for NSA leaker Edward Snowden or former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

‘Doing a pardon tomorrow on someone who is very, very important,’ Trump told reporters on Air Force One.

He declined to offer further details except to say it was not Flynn or Snowden, a former U.S. National Security Agency contractor now living in Russia who has been charged with leaking secret information.

On Tuesday, during a White House ceremony to commemorate the passage of Women’s Suffrage, Trump announced he would pardon Susan B. Anthony, who was arrested for voting in 1872 at a time when only men were allowed to do so.

On Saturday, Trump said he was considering a pardon for Snowden, who gave a trove of secret files in 2013 to news organizations that disclosed vast domestic and international surveillance operations carried out by the NSA.

Flynn, meanwhile, twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s then-ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. 

The U.S. Justice Department has sought to dismiss the case against Flynn following pressure from Trump and his allies.

Trump said he is ‘not that aware of the Snowden situation,’ but that people on both the left and the right are divided over the former contractor.

‘It seems to be a split decision,’ he said. 

‘Many people think he should be somehow treated differently, and other people think he did very bad things.’ 

‘I guess the DOJ is looking to extradite him right now?’ he told the New York Post on Thursday. ‘It’s certainly something I could look at. Many people are on his side, I will say that. I don’t know him, never met him. But many people are on his side.’ 

In 2013, Snowden shared thousands of classified documents with journalists, prompting the US government to charge him with two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property.  

The Whistleblower, who was Hawaii-based, worked for the CIA and NSA for several years and  says he concluded that both agencies had ‘hacked the constitution’ with extensive government surveillance, putting everyone’s liberty at risk and forcing his hand to leak the information to the media.   

Snowden’s decision to go public with the information set off a global debate about government surveillance put in place by intelligence agencies in a perceived bid to avoid a similar attack to 9/11 from happening ever again.

He has been living in exile in Russia since he leaked the documents.  

However, last year, Snowden said his ‘ultimate goal’ was actually to return home to the US.

‘But if I’m gonna spend the rest of my life in prison, the one bottom line demand that we have to agree to is that at least I get a fair trial.’

Snowden said a fair trial won’t be possible as the government won’t allow him to take a public interest defense.

‘I’m not asking for a parade. I’m not asking for a pass. What I’m asking for is a fair trial,’ he said. 

Critics have repeatedly reminded him that by leaking the classified documents he broke both federal law and the oath he took when he joined the NSA. 

Last year, he published an autobiography, titled Permanent Record. 

The day after its publication, the US Department of Justice filed a two-count civil lawsuit against Snowden ‘alleging he had breached nondisclosure agreements signed with the U.S. federal government’.

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