Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the judge in the Roger Stone case, has a pending motion before her on juror bias in relation to comments on social media made by foreperson Tomeka Hart.
The judge had said she would not decide on the motion until after the sentencing. On Thursday, she gave Stone a 40 month sentence. She also made remarks about the jury having “integrity” during the sentencing. Stone’s attorney’s moved to disqualify her for those remarks saying that she had prejudged the motion. Jackson refused to grant that motion.
In examining the jurors prior to trial the court had given them a questionnaire to fill out and then had additional questions from the judge and/or the attorneys as thought needed.
One of the questions raised by the revelation about her remarks was: what did she tell the court in the questionnaire or in remarks to the judge? Did she wrongly represent that she had no opinion about the Mueller case and/or that she didn’t post about it?
Now we have at least a partial answer to the questions, at least as to what she said on the questionnaire if the new report from the Daily Caller is correct.
The lead juror at Roger Stone’s trial said in a written questionnaire for prospective jurors that she was “not sure” whether she posted online about the Russia investigation or Stone, and that she “may have shared an article” on social media on the topics, according to a portion of the document reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
But Tomeka Hart’s Twitter feed shows that she indeed posted multiple times about the Russia probe and at least once about Stone, who was sentenced on Thursday to 40 months in prison in a case that stemmed from the special counsel’s investigation.
Trump posted multiple times about about Trump and the Mueller investigation. She also made a tweet which referred to Trump as the “Klan president” and another which called Trump supporters “racists.” Hardly the timeline of an impartial person. Saying she was “not sure” she posted sounds like a huge hedge, given her posts.
Stone’s defense has argued that she gave misleading answers in response to the questions.
In order to get a new trial based on the juror misconduct, the judge would have to find that she had provided materially information and that had the truth been known that would be a legitimate basis for striking her.
According to Leslie McAdoo Gordon, a criminal defense attorney the Daily Caller News Foundation spoke with, she believed that the answers on the questionnaire were enough to warrant a new trial. “I think he could satisfy the Supreme Court’s test for requesting a new trial,” she said.
She said that it appeared that Hart downplayed her awareness of the Russia probe in her written questionnaire. That alone would not be enough to merit a retrial, McAdoo Gordon said.
But Hart’s comments about Trump supporters and her failure to disclose those views during voir dire are enough to satisfy the Supreme Court’s requirement, according to the lawyer.
“If that information had been presented to the judge that she thought all supporters of the president were racist, the judge would have excluded her,” McAdoo Gordon said.
“She minimized her answers to the voir dire and she was not honest in answering that question about whether she could be impartial.”
But despite that opinion, three guesses as to how the judge is going to rule. I don’t think it’s much of a question but let’s see. I’ll be shocked if she grants the motion.