Feb. 18 (UPI) -- A federal judge Tuesday said Roger Stone's sentencing hearing would still be Thursday despite defense efforts to delay it.
Defense attorneys had asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to delay sentencing while deciding on their motion to grant a new trial.
Jackson said she had not decided on whether to have a hearing on the defense's motion, but Thursday's sentencing hearing could move forward as planned and the sentence delayed from going into effect until the motion is decided.
Stone, 67, a former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump, faced a legal maximum penalty of 50 years in prison, although a first offender would face far less time under federal sentencing guidelines, including 20 years for witness tampering and five years for each of the other counts. He was found guilty in November of seven charges, with obstruction, making false statements and witness tampering, being among them.
He is the sixth Trump staffer to be convicted on charges related to former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Federal prosecutors recommended seven to nine years in a sentencing memorandum as a "general deterrence" due to the seriousness of his offenses and that he knew exactly what he was doing when he committed them.
But the Department of Justice intervened last week to undercut their sentencing recommendation. The lower sentencing request followed the president's rebukes of the initial one. In early morning tweets, Trump called the original request "disgraceful" and a "miscarriage of justice."
In response to undercutting their request, four federal prosecutors quit the case, with half of them resigning entirely as employees of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C.
The new prosecution team had argued in favor of moving forward with Thursday's sentencing hearing.
While the exact reason Stone's defense team is calling for a new trial remains unclear, Stone's allies, including Trump, have recently called attention to a woman who has identified herself as a foreperson in the jury criticizing the president in social media posts.