The legal team for former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone has launched a salvo at the judge who presiding over his case in a battle to win a new trial for the long-time ally of President Donald Trump.
A new motion alleges that Judge Amy Berman-Jackson revealed her prejudice against Stone at his Thursday sentencing, and thus should be disqualified from hearing Stone’s motion for a new trial in the case.
Berman-Jackson sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison. She is currently scheduled to hear motions about a new trial.
Stone’s legal team’s quest for a new trial revolves around Tomeka Hart, the jury forewoman in the Stone case, who, after it had been tried, was revealed to have published social media posts against Trump. Her anti-Trump opinions were not made known at the start of the trial during jury selection.
“Stone’s argument for a new trial rests on newly discovered information indicating that there was juror misconduct during Mr. Stone’s trial, thereby depriving him of his constitutional right to be tried by an impartial jury,” the new motion states, noting that the motion has yet to be heard.
“However, given the statements made by Judge Berman- Jackson during the Sentencing Hearing, recusal under 28 U.S.C § 455(a) is warranted in order to protect the integrity and impartiality of the judicial system,” the new filing states.
The filing argued that Berman-Jackson has already taken a side in the argument Stone’s team will make concerning the integrity of the jury.
“Stone’s Motion for New Trial is directly related to the integrity of a juror. It is alleged that a juror misled the Court regarding her ability to be unbiased and fair and the juror attempted to cover up evidence that would directly contradict her false claims of impartiality. Nevertheless, at Mr. Stone’s sentencing, the Court emphatically stated its views regarding both of the defendant and the jurors in his trial,” the new filing said.
The new filing then quotes Berman-Jackson as saying during Stone’s sentencing, that “dismay and disgust at the defendant’s belligerence should transcend party. The dismay and the disgust at the attempts by others to defend his actions as just business as usual in our polarized climate should transcend party.”
“The dismay and the disgust with any attempts to interfere with the efforts of prosecutors and members of the judiciary to fulfill their duty should transcend party. Sure, the defense is free to say: So what? Who cares? But, I’ll say this: Congress cared. The United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia that prosecuted the case and is still prosecuting the case cared,” she said.
“The jurors who served with integrity under difficult circumstances cared. The American people cared. And I care,” Berman-Jackson said.
Stone’s filing homes in on these final comments.
“The Court’s ardent conclusion of ‘integrity’ indicates an inability to reserve judgment on an issue which has yet been heard. Moreover, the categorical finding of integrity made before hearing the facts is likely to ‘lead a reasonably informed observer to question the District Judge’s impartiality,'” the new filing states.
On Sunday, Trump shared his concerns about Stone’s case during a media session as he was leaving the White House, according to a White House media pool report. In response to questions about pardoning Stone, Trump has said that despite misgivings over the trial and sentencing, he will let the process play out before deciding whether he should become involved.
“I’ve seen a very sad thing going on with respect to Roger Stone,” Trump said. “You have a juror that’s obviously tainted. She somehow wiggled her way onto the jury. If that’s not a tainted jury, then there is no such thing as a tainted jury. I think it’s a disgrace. That shouldn’t happen in our criminal justice system.”
Stone had been convicted last year of lying to congressional investigators, and one count of witness intimidation relating to an attempt to have an associate refuse to cooperate with Congress.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.