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Roger Stone is not going to be able to wait two months before he heads off to federal prison. On Monday morning Judge Amy Berman Jackson unsealed her opinion as to why the Trump ally will have just two weeks to get his affairs in order before he begins his three-year sentence. While he waits to head off to prison, Stone will also have to serve under home confinement.

Jackson denied the defense’s motion to delay his reporting date for 60 days, which was not opposed by the Department of Justice.

Stone’s camp had argued that he had underlying health conditions that put his life in added danger amid the coronavirus pandemic. The judge decided that those underlying conditions were “medically controlled” according to Politico. The prison he’s being sent to has seen no documented cases of the coronavirus since the outbreak began, further convincing Jackson that it would be safe for Stone to begin his sentence.

The judge also said the prosecution has often opposed delaying convicts reporting to prison if they had their underlying conditions under control. She was not swayed by the DOJ’s arguments as to why they were not opposing it this time around.

  Alex Wong / Getty Images

Politico believes the ruling by Jackson continues to reflect skepticism from the judge when it comes to the DOJ’s actions. In the opinion, she wrote that she expects to see the department show the flexibility it has in the stone case, in similar situations moving forward. The opinion is also said to add further rationale as to why the judge denied Stone’s motion to delay when he would need to report until September.

The judge was also dubious of how seriously Stone was taking the coronavirus outbreak. A note from his doctor said his health condition called on him to practice as much social distancing and social isolation as possible. Jackson said she felt his responses to her questions about whether or not he was following those orders prior to the request for a sentencing delay seemed to practiced and rehearsed for her liking.

“Defendant’s response to the Court’s inquiry concerning his personal preventive practices and avoidance of public gatherings in accordance with these directives was vague, carefully parsed, and not reassuring,” Jackson wrote.

Stone was convicted in November of repeatedly lying to House investigators pursuing evidence of his and the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia and any interference in the 2016 U.S. election. He was also convicted on a separate count of attempting to intimidate a witness in that investigation.

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Florida coronavirus cases surge 46% over the last week — but Gov. DeSantis says he won’t delay state’s reopening plans

Florida is stuck between a surge and a hard stance on reopening.

On Wednesday, Florida’s Department of Health announced 6,563 additional cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus also known as SARS-CoV-2, and 45 new deaths as the state moves into its fifth month of the pandemic.

The state reported its highest number of new cases in a 24-hour period of 9,585 last Saturday. Florida has thus far reported 158,997 cases, most of which do not account for those who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic, and 3,550 confirmed deaths from the virus.

While COVID-19’s progress has slowed in major cities such as New York, where most cases in the U.S. are centered, confirmed coronavirus cases have risen in 35 U.S. states, with some of the most populace states such as Florida, Texas and California a key cause for concern.

“ ‘We’re not going back, closing things. I don’t think that that’s really what’s driving it.’ ”

— Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican on his refusal to close many businesses.

Unlike California and Texas, however, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said the state will not delay its reopening plans. New cases in Florida are up 46% over the past week, new cases in Texas are up 27%, and up 17% California over the same period, according to this tally in the Washington Post.

“We’re not going back closing things,” DeSantis, a Republican, said on Tuesday, according to Axios. “I don’t think that that’s really what’s driving it, people going to a business is not what’s driving it. I think when you see the younger folks, I think a lot of it is more just social interaction.”

“We’re open, we know who we need to protect, most of the folks in those younger demographics, although we want them to be mindful of what’s going on, are just simply much, much less at risk than the folks who are in those older age groups,” the governor added.

DeSantis instructed bars, which are allowed to open to half of their usual capacity, to stop selling alcohol as one concession to the spike in coronavirus cases, but the state does not have restrictions on the number of people who can gather in stores and gyms.

In California, meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, would take a “dimmer switch” approach to reopening. “Many people are not being as responsible as we’d like them to be,” he said. Last weekend, he ordered seven counties in California to shut down bars, and is reviewing others.

And in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said the spread must be corralled.” Last week, he paused the state’s reopening, and ordered bars to close and restaurants to reduce seating capacity. Bars in the state have filed suit against this, the second closure since the pandemic began.

Thus far, New York has had the most deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. (32,032), followed by New Jersey (15,035), Massachusetts (8,053), Illinois (6,923), Pennsylvania (6,649), Michigan (6,193) and California (6,089). Texas has reported 2,455 deaths from the virus.

“ ‘I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day, if this does not turn around.’ ”

— Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The COVID-19 pandemic, which was first identified in Wuhan, China in December, had infected 10,512,383 people globally and 2,638,338 in the U.S. as of Wednesday. It had claimed at least 512,331 lives worldwide, 127,485 of which were in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for three decades and one of the leading experts on pandemics in the U.S. for the last four decades, on Tuesday made a dire warning for the U.S. in the ongoing battle to control the spread of COVID-19.

Fauci said SARS-CoV-2, the official name for the novel coronavirus that causes the disease known as COVID-19, new cases will continue to appear unless lawmakers and the U.S. public start to take social-distancing rules seriously. He said the recent surges were “disturbing.”

“I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day, if this does not turn around,” he said. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases hit a new daily high of 40,000 last week, the highest number of daily cases since they reached 36,400 in a 24-hour period in April.

The Dow Jones Industrial Index DJIA, +0.12% and the S&P 500 SPX, +0.66% were slightly higher Wednesday, despite the surge in coronavirus cases in some of the most populous states in the U.S., including California, Florida and Texas.

The coronavirus pandemic is “not even close to being over,” according to the head of the World Health Organization, and the worst is still to come, in what was a grim assessment of the state of affairs some six months after the first cases were reported in China.

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