Facing Stiff Sentence, Trump Advisor Stone Seeks New Trial
Sumaira FH 6 days ago Sat 15th February 2020 | 08:30 AM
Washington, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 15th Feb, 2020 ) :Republican political consultant Roger Stone requested a new trial Friday just days after President Donald Trump's criticism of his proposed jail sentence sparked an uproar over political influence in the justice system.
The motion was sealed so his arguments for a new trial were not clear.
But Stone's supporters recently accused one of the jurors of having been prejudiced against Stone before the trial began.
Earlier this week Trump himself tweeted in support of his longtime political advisor.
"Now it looks like the foreperson in the jury, in the Roger Stone case, had significant bias. Add that to everything else, and this is not looking good for the 'Justice' Department," Trump wrote.
The judge in the case, Amy Berman Jackson, told both sides to file their arguments on the motion on Tuesday.
- Convicted of lying to Congress - Stone, part of Trump's successful 2016 presidential campaign, was arrested in January 2019 on charges brought by then-special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the Russia investigation.
He was accused of lying in testimony to Congress about acting as an intermediary between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, which released hacked documents that embarrassed rival Hillary Clinton during the White House race.
Stone's supporters alleged on social media that the head of the jury, Tomeka Hart, had not been truthful about alleged anti-Republican biases when interviewed during jury selection.
But the court transcript depicts Hart providing straightforward answers to questions about her political leanings and prior knowledge of the Mueller investigation.
Given a chance by the judge to strike Hart from the jury list, Stone's defense team accepted her with no objection.
"As foreperson, I made sure we went through every element, of every charge, matching the evidence presented in the case that led us to return a conviction of guilty on all 7 counts," she wrote.
The post is no longer online but was confirmed with Hart by the Daily Memphian newspaper.
- Furor over Trump tweets - Stone's push for a new trial came after a week of turmoil that shook the Justice Department.
After Trump called the proposed sentence a "miscarriage of justice" in a late-night tweet and Attorney General Bill Barr intervened for a lighter sentence, the Justice Department attorneys who prosecuted the case resigned in apparent protest.
Barr called the sentence proposal "excessive" but denied allegations that he was doing Trump's bidding and politicizing the justice system.
Barr said Stone's case was a "righteous prosecution" and that he was "happy that he was convicted." But he also criticized Trump's comments.
"I think it's time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases."