Judge Slams Trump, Stone Allies For Targeting Juror
The judge overseeing Roger Stone’s criminal case gave a verbal lashing to Donald Trump and other Republicans who have questioned the intentions of the jury foreperson in Stone’s trial, saying their attacks could have a “chilling effect” on jurors in the future.
“Any attempt to harass or intimidate jurors is completely antithetical to our system of justice,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Tuesday at a hearing to determine whether Stone will get a new trial, according to the Washington Post.
Trump has helped prop up Stone’s argument that the jury that convicted him in 2019 of seven counts of witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and lying to Congress was tainted by anti-Trump jurors.
Jackson specifically called out Trump for this practice, saying he “used his Twitter platform to present his opinion about the foreperson.” She also chastised pro-Trump Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who called the jury foreperson an “anti-Trump zealot.“
“This is indisputably a highly publicized case in which the president himself shone a spotlight on the jury,” Jackson said, according to the Washington Post. “The risk of harassment and intimidation of any jurors who may testify in the hearing later today is is extremely high, and individually who may be angry about Mr. Stone’s conviction may chose to take it out on them personally.”
Minutes after Jackson made her comment, Trump once again attacked the jury foreperson in Stone’s case — ignoring Jackson’s plea to stop the behavior.
“There has rarely been a juror so tainted as the forewoman in the Roger Stone case,” Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “Look at her background. She never revealed her hatred of ‘Trump’ and Stone. She was totally biased, as is the judge. Roger wasn’t even working on my campaign. Miscarriage of justice. Sad to watch!”
Stone is hoping that his efforts to paint a juror as biased toward Trump may earn him a new trial.
He already tried to get Jackson removed from the case by saying she was biased against him, a request Jackson denied in a fiery opinion she released on Sunday.
“Given the absence of any factual or legal support for the motion for disqualification, the pleading appears to be nothing more than an attempt to use the Court’s docket to disseminate a statement for public consumption that has the words ‘judge’ and ‘biased’ in it,” Jackson wrote, according to the Post.
Just last week, Jackson sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison, followed by 24 months supervised release, and a $20,000 fine for his crimes.
During the sentencing, Jackson slammed Stone for having “injected himself, characteristically, in one of the most significant issues of the day” when he tried to impede former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, adding that Stone was “prosecuted for covering up for the president.”
Later that day, Trump delivered an extended tirade during a ceremony for Hope for Prisoners, a program for former inmates. He attacked the jury forewoman as “an anti-Trump person totally” and alleged she had engaged in a “defrauding of the court” that might necessitate a pardon for Stone.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.