The federal judge overseeing the criminal case against Roger Stone Jr. on Tuesday warned of President Trump and others attacks on a jury in the trial, saying that provoking public outrage over the guilty verdict could prompt someone to “drive it out.” On the jury members.
Judge Amy Jackson Berman’s comments came from a US District Court in Washington during a hearing about an argument for Mr Stone’s lawyer that a jury’s misconduct required a new trial.
Even when the session was taking place, Mr. Trump was looking into the case again, ignoring once again Justice Secretary William Barr’s explicit request this month to stop commenting on criminal cases for the Justice Department.
“There was rarely a very polluted jury like the woman presented in the Roger Stone case.” Books on Twitter. “Look at her background. She never revealed her hatred of” Trump “and” Stone. “She was completely biased, like the judge. Roger was not working on my campaign. Fail justice. Sad to watch!
Judge Jackson agreed to hold an open hearing at the request of the defense, but he placed unusual restrictions, which only allowed the public and the media to listen to the hearing’s voice from rooms outside the courtroom and insisted that the jury not be named.
“This is a highly publicized issue, and in a highly polarized political climate, in which the president himself shed light on the jury through his Twitter program,” she said. If the jury identities become public, she said, “a person who may be angry at Mr Stone’s conviction or other developments in the news may choose to direct it personally.”
Judge Jackson ended the session without making any decision, saying that she would make her decision later.
The Stone case has turned into one of the most politically contentious trials that the Ministry of Justice has dealt with for years. Mr Stone was convicted in November of a felony on seven counts of obstructing an investigation in Congress and sentenced to 40 months in prison last Thursday.
But the case continued to stir controversy, which was partly driven by the president’s criticism of the prosecutor, judge and jury. Mr. Trump’s comments on the case came on Tuesday shortly after he criticized two liberal Supreme Court judges, saying they should shirk any case related to him.
Without naming Mr. Trump during Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Judge Jackson cited “inappropriate” comments by partisan spectators. Her warning amplified on Tuesday, saying: “I need to state this clearly, that any attempt to break into the privacy of a jury is totally inconsistent with our entire judicial system.”
The case, too The rift between the US District Attorney’s Office of the United States District Attorney and their superiors at the Department of Justice headquarters has been exposed. Four prosecutors withdrew from the case this month after Mr. Barr rejected their recommendation of the verdict and insisted that the ministry request a prison sentence of less severe from seven to nine years sought by prosecutors.
Tuesday’s four-hour session was largely unusual. The recent attempts by defense teams to keep the accused from prison are typical, but their requests rarely receive much judicial attention. Legal experts said Judge Jackson may expect Mr Stone to appeal for his conviction and seek to defend the integrity of the measures in the face of the attacks of the president and his allies.
Three months after the jury delivered their verdict, about ten of them were summoned to court. Three of them, including the former lady, were interrogated on the podium, as was one of the prosecutors who withdrew from the case.
Defense attorneys claim that the failed actress failed to disclose important information during the jury selection process that would have prompted them to move to exclude her from the committee. Tomika Hart, Program Officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, identified herself as a woman presented in a Facebook post this month.
In this post, she expressed concern about Mr. Barr’s decision to cancel the prosecutors, saying: “It is unfortunate to see the Ministry of Justice now intervene in the hard work of the prosecutors. They have acted with the greatest of intelligence, fairness, and respect for our justice system.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Stone’s lawyers claimed that during the selection of the jury, the prominent lady concealed her level of knowledge of Mr. Stone and his relationship with the president, as well as hostility toward Mr. Trump. They said they only recently learned of her views by examining her social media posts, although they hired counselors to help them identify potential jurors who might be biased.
But Judge Jackson repeatedly expressed doubts about their allegations.
“Having an opinion about the president and some or all of his policies does not mean that she cannot justly or impartially control the evidence against Roger Stone,” she said. “It paints a picture you care about about immigration, and it cares about ethnic justice, and that voice comes.”
After Mrs. Hart’s identity became known, many of Mr. Trump’s allies searched their social media accounts, noting posts that they said were critical of the president. “The risk of harassment and intimidation of any jurors who may testify at the hearing later today is very high,” the judge said.
While choosing a jury, jurors answered questions orally, and in a special precautionary measure aimed at identifying bias, long questionnaires were filled out.
Among other questions, they were asked whether they had any opinion about the president, whether that opinion would make it difficult for them to be fair and whether they had made comments for public consumption about the investigation conducted by the private attorney, Robert S. Mueller III. Mr. Stone was one of six former Trump aides who were charged as a result of this investigation.
On the witness stand on Tuesday, Mrs. Hart said she answered questions she asked honestly, and noticed in her questionnaire that she could not remember all her posts on social media.
Last week, defense lawyers asked Judge Jackson to review the case. They said her remarks during Thursday’s verdict showed that she would not be fair when deciding their allegations about the jurors ’misconduct, noting her comment that the jurors” served with integrity in difficult circumstances. “
The judge rejected this suggestion on Sunday, saying it was completely fair. She said she solved both important evidence-related and bond questions for Mr. Stone “even after he took on social media to scare the court” and violated her spilled orders.
Interspersed with criticism of the trial, Mr. Trump hinted that he would consider pardoning Mr Stone. The president pledged to “allow this process to work” after Mr Stone’s judgment was issued on Thursday, but he said he might intervene if he feels dissatisfied with Mr Stone’s treatment fairly.