Dem Lawyer: Stone Judge's Political Remarks May Have Compromised Case, Made It About Trump

Roger Stone accompanied by his wife Nydia Stone, left, arrives for his sentencing at U.S. District Court in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. Roger Stone, a staunch ally of President Donald Trump, faces sentencing Thursday on his convictions for witness tampering and lying to Congress. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

 

On Thursday, after the controversy over the DOJ sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, Judge Amy Berman Jackson ended up giving Stone a 40 month sentence.

The sentence was a much more reasonable one in light of the case and vindicated Attorney General Barr and DOJ higher-ups pulling back the excessive sentence originally recommended by the four prosecutors on the case.

But the Obama-appointed judge couldn’t leave it alone and made remarks which some, like lawyer David Schoen, who has been a trial counsel for the Democratic Party in the past, are saying may have compromised the case.

Schoen called out some of her remarks while speaking to Fox’s Judge Andrew Napolitano, who asked if Schoen saw any animosity toward Stone in her remarks.

From Fox News:

“I was shocked with some of the things she said,” claimed Schoen. “She was very angry. She’s very smart and she knows how to make her record. But she kept on making political statements while disclaiming that this case is not at all about politics.”

Schoen, a civil rights and criminal defense attorney, said that after listening to Jackson’s remarks at the sentencing, he believes that she may have provided the defense with even more justification to have Stone’s conviction thrown out on appeal.

“She made this very much yesterday about President Trump,” Schoen continued. “She said that Roger Stone volunteered to testify before Congress because he was afraid the president wouldn’t want him taking the fifth. And that he testified to cover up for the president. It was a very political talk. I was very disappointed.”

“He was not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the President,” said Jackson during Thursday’s sentencing. “He was prosecuted for covering up for the President.”

Stone was not prosecuted or convicted of “covering up for the president,” he was convicted for lying about his contacts with Wikileaks. There has been absolutely no finding that there was any Russia collusion by anyone on the Trump team, indeed that was disproven by the Mueller report. So this is literally accusing him of something he was not found guilty and also attacking the president. You essentially have the judge being a Russia collusion truther. That’s not only wrong, that can lend fuel, as Schoen notes, to the case for a new trial.

Add that to the questions already extant on which Jackson is supposed to rule on with regard to bias on the jury, especially the concerns raised regarding Tomeka Hart, who not only ran for Congress as a Democrat, but also had social media posts saying she believed Trump supporters were racist and tweeting a quote calling Trump the “KKK” president. She also retweeted a tweet mocking concerns about the excessive use of force in Stone’s arrest.

“Is the bias of the judge of such gravity that you would recommend to whoever takes the appeal that it be an appellate issue?” pressed the judge, suggesting that Stone’s defense team may point to Jackson’s remarks as evidence of potential bias against their client.

“I would recommend that, especially for this reason, yesterday, she made the comment that the jurors, in this case, showed great integrity and came back with thoughtful questions. … [while] they have a motion pending before her now about the integrity of the jury process,” said Schoen. [….]

“This juror misconduct… is a very serious issue,” explained Schoen. “The integrity of the system depends on candid answers by jurors, lack of bias or prejudice by jurors and being forthright and really being impartial. Not just saying you can be fair because you want to sit on the jury and stick it to the defendant.”

“If this case is thrown out, as you and I and many, many commentators think it should be,” concluded the judge, “what are the odds the DOJ does not retry Stone?”

“I’d be shocked,” said Schoen. “It would be the wrong thing to do to retry this case.”

Pretty sure, based upon her remarks, that she doesn’t intend to grant the defense motion for a new trial based on juror bias. But then the defense will have to make a decision as to whether they appeal and they clearly have a few avenues to argue.