Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell of the District of Columbia on Thursday released a public statement in defense of the federal trial judge overseeing Roger Stone’s sentencing next week, a rare move after President Donald Trump criticized the judge.

“The Judges of this Court base their sentencing decisions on careful consideration of the actual record in the case before them; the applicable sentencing guidelines and statutory factors; the submissions of the parties, the Probation Office and victims; and their own judgment and experience,” Howell said. “Public criticism or pressure is not a factor.”

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