Donald Trump's long-time adviser Roger Stone was sentenced to three years and four months in prison for lying to Congress.
The veteran Republican operative was convicted of lying to the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee about his attempts to contact WikiLeaks, the website that released damaging emails about Trump's 2016 Democratic election rival Hillary Clinton.
The 67-year-old Stone , who has been a friend and adviser to Trump for decades, was convicted on November 15 on all seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.
But his sentence fell well short of the seven to nine years that were initially recommended by the original prosecutors in the case.
They were overruled by the Justice Department after Trump complained publicly and the original prosecutors quit the case.
In a stern lecture during an hours-long sentencing US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson.
But she said lengthy jail time was "unnecessary" for Stone, who has no prior criminal record.
She also delivered an implicit rebuke to Trump, who has attacked her along with the jury and prosecutors in the high-profile case.
"There was nothing unfair, phony or disgraceful about the investigation or the prosecution," Jackson said, citing words that the Republican president has used.
"He was not prosecuted – as some have complained – for standing up for the president. He was prosecuted for covering up for the president," Jackson said.
"The truth still exists. The truth still matters," Jackson said.
"Roger Stone 's insistence that it doesn't, his belligerence, his pride in his own lies are a threat to our fundamental institutions – to the very foundation of our democracy."
The judge also said Stone "knew exactly what he was doing" when he posted an image on social media last year that positioned a gun's cross-hairs over her head.
"The defendant engaged in threatening and intimidating conduct toward the court," Jackson said.
"This is intolerable to the administration of justice," she added.
Stone, who still has a sealed pending motion requesting a new trial, declined to speak at his sentencing hearing.
He stood at a lectern in the courtroom as the judge announced the sentence.
After leaving, Stone told reporters, "I have nothing to say." In a chaotic scene outside the courthouse, Stone walked through a throng of people with a slight smile on his face and climbed into a waiting vehicle.
Stone, who has labeled himself an "agent provocateur" and famously has the face of former President Richard Nixon tattooed on his back, was arrested in January 2019 in a pre-dawn FBI raid on his Florida home.
Defense attorney Seth Ginsberg said Stone 's career as a self-described "dirty trickster" overshadowed other aspects of a spiritual man who has served as a mentor, loves animals and is devoted to his family.
"Mr Stone is, in fact, not simply that public persona, but a human being," he said.
The judge noted that Stone was not charged with or convicted of having any role in conspiring with Russia.
But the judge said Stone 's effort to obstruct a congressional investigation into Russian election meddling "was deliberate, planned – not one isolated incident."
The investigators were not some "secret anti-Trump cabal," the judge said, but members of Congress from both parties at the time when the committee was controlled by the president's fellow Republicans.
Stone 's career as a Republican operative has stretched from the Watergate scandal era of the early 1970s to Trump's campaign four years ago.
Wearing sunglasses and a dark fedora, Stone walked arm-in-arm with his wife and was surrounded by an entourage of family, friends and lawyers as he arrived at the courthouse. He strode past a giant inflatable rat dressed as Trump with a red tie and yellow hair – a common prop in street protests – and a sign calling for his pardon.
One onlooker shouted: "Traitor!" Stone, known for his elegant attire, was clad in a dark gray pinstripe suit with a polka dot handkerchief in the pocket.
The charges against Stone stemmed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation that detailed Russian meddling in the 2016 election to boost Trump's candidacy.
Stone was one of several Trump associates charged in Mueller's inquiry.
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