Dedication. That’s certainly one word for it.
While agreeing that Ms. Stewart had flouted the law and deceived the government by breaking prison rules to publicize the sheik’s messages, Judge Koeltl broadly rejected the prosecutors’ portrayal of her as a serial liar and terrorist conspirator who would be a danger to society if she remained free.
Instead, he focused on her past service as a lawyer. “She has represented the poor, the disadvantaged and the unpopular,” Judge Koeltl said, adding that Ms. Stewart had demonstrated “enormous skill and dedication” in her legal work and earned little money from it.
“It is no exaggeration to say that Ms. Stewart performed a public service not only to her clients but to the nation,” Judge Koeltl told a crowded but hushed courtroom.
Judge Koeltl was appointed by Bill Clinton so there are no surprises here. Koeltl gave Stewart a lenient sentence. Now he’s able to set her free.
Stewart’s trial lasted six months and the jury deliberated for 13 days before convicting her. She faced up to 30 years in prison but the sentencing judge, Clinton-appointed John Koeltl, was one of her biggest fans and she only got 28 months.
Three years later a federal appellate court ordered that Stewart be resentenced and she got slapped with 10 years, still well below the maximum.
A mainstream media outlet reports that Koeltl’s order says Stewart’s “terminal medical condition and very limited life expectancy constitute extraordinary and compelling reasons that warrant the requested reduction.” Back home in New York Stewart celebrated with her supporters, telling a local newspaper that there’s nothing like freedom and that she’s going to celebrate with a party.
The terror sheikh’s victims, including the men, women and little murdered in Luxor, won’t be invited.