Roger Stone, sentenced to 40 months in prison this week, moved Friday to disqualify the judge in his case, claiming her remarks at his sentencing rendered her unable to fairly rule on his bid for a new trial.
Stone’s lawyers say, in particular, that Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s decision to assert that jurors in the case “served with integrity” strikes at the heart of Stone’s motion for a new trial.
At least one juror, the foreperson, was intensely biased. The Constitution declares that juries must be impartial.
“Whether the subject juror (and perhaps others) served with ‘integrity’ is one of the paramount questions presented in the pending Motion,” Stone’s lawyers argued. “The Court’s ardent conclusion of ‘integrity’ indicates an inability to reserve judgment on an issue which has yet been heard.”
Jackson made that remark as she ripped into Stone, accusing Stone and his lawyers of minimizing his obstruction of federal investigators. She dramatically called it a grave national security threat [although Stone has no information of anything that would threaten national security].
“Sure, the defense is free to say: So what? Who cares?” Berman Jackson said. “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. The jurors who served with integrity under difficult circumstances cared. The American people cared. And I care.”
Jackson also lied during her lengthy rant, claiming Stone was “prosecuted for covering up for the President.” That is not true. He was prosecuted for lying and the companion charge of obstruction. He was also charged with witness tampering for writing nasty letters to one of the witnesses (his ex-friend Mr. Credico), and threatening to kill his cat.
Whether Stone’s request can fly is unknown, but also unlikely.
THE MISTRIAL IS A LONGSHOT WITH THIS JUDGE
Berman Jackson delivered her sentence Thursday but delayed it until after she considers Stone’s motion for a new trial. Though the motion was filed under seal, Stone’s team indicated that it will focus on a juror (biased Tameka Hart).
Jackson hasn’t even ordered an investigation into tainted juror Hart.
The DOJ has already stated they will object to a new trial.
“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,” his lawyers argued.
“The premature statement blessing the “integrity of the jury” undermines the appearance of impartiality and presents a strong bias for recusal,” they added.