Stone Moves To Remove Jackson From Case [Updated]

Roger Stone’s defense team moved to force the recusal of Judge Amy Berman Jackson from the case for bias. These motions have a very low success rate and this particular motion likely has an even lower likelihood of success. Jackson is a respected and experience judge. I actually was taken aback by a couple of her comments about the case but courts of appeal are extremely reluctant to force such recusals. Moreover, the main thrust of the motion is a statement about the jury which would be viewed as virtually standardized language for courts. Update: the Defense motion is available below.

The Stone team seems particularly aggrieved that Jackson said that the jury in the case had “served with integrity.” There is a pending motion for a new trial based on the alleged bias of the foreperson of the jury and the defense feels that the comment prejudges the merits of that motion.

The motion come up short in both its arguments and its persuasive weight. This is the gist:

“Recusal is required based on the entirety of the above and this statement in particular: “The jurors who served with integrity under difficult circumstances cared.” 2/20/20 Tr. 88:7-8 (emphasis added). Whether the subject juror (and perhaps others) served with “integrity” is one of the paramount questions presented in the pending Motion. The Court’s ardent conclusion of “integrity” indicates an inability to reserve judgment on an issue which has yet been heard.”

That is pretty underwhelming. I happen to agree that Stone deserves a new trial if these allegations are true. I have a column appearing in today’s edition of The Hill newspaper calling for such a new trial. An appellate court would like view such a statement as virtually rote for judges and not a commitment on the outcome of the pending motion. I would not have filed a motion of disqualification on the basis of that fleeting comment.

I am actually more concerned with another statement that Jackson made at the last hearing. Jackson declared that Stone “was not prosecuted, as some have claimed, for standing up for the president. He was prosecuted for covering up for the president.” A “cover up” suggests that Stone was hiding damaging information against Trump. The evidence shows that Stone was covering up aspects of his own conduct. He was open about his work and fealty to Trump. There was no evidence of any misconduct or criminal conduct by Trump himself. Jackson had to know that this sensational line would be the take-away from the hearing and it was.

Nevertheless, while injudicious, such a statement in isolation is not likely to warrant the removal of a judge by a court of appeals. Overall, Jackson conducted the trial and sentencing in an efficient and fair way. Some judges would have hammered Stone more severely for his poor conduct before the trial in his public comments, including the use of an image of the judge that many thought was threatening. She also handed down a sentence that was exactly what some of us predicted and less than half of what the prosecutors originally asked for.

The last forced refusal that I know of was for Judge Royce Lamberth on the the Indian Trust case. The D.C. Circuit cited Lamberth’s declarations in court that the “spite” of government officials led to “wrath,” “willful misconduct,” “iniquities,” “scandals,” “dirty tricks,” and “outright villainy.” The panel declared that “We conclude, reluctantly, that this is one of those rare cases in which reassignment is necessary.” That is a fair measure beyond thanking a jury in the midst of a motion for a new trial.

Most cases in the areas involve unanimous denials of motions for disqualification, though sometimes panel’s recognize the basis for the concerns. Thus, in the massive opioid litigation, the industry sought to disqualify U.S. District Judge Dan Polster who said that he was on a “personal mission” in the case and from the start seemed to declare his view of the merits. The Sixth Circuit still rejected by motion by admonished Polster that his comments in “isolation” could easily be taken for bias and added that

It admonished the judge to be more careful talking to the press and in court, saying his comments may “in isolation” appear to reflect bias though they did not warrant recusal. “We do not encourage Judge Polster to continue these actions,” particularly in “a case of such enormous public interest and significance.”

The motion will be denied and the defense probably has no expectations to the contrary. The motion is a shot across the bow for the court and preserves the question of bias for appeal. It is all setting up for the most important decision in the case on how the court will deal with what appears to be a valid juror bias motion.

Here is the motion:

95 thoughts on “Stone Moves To Remove Jackson From Case [Updated]”

  1. Pearls, makeup… make up legitimacy regarding the left’s continued judicial persecution of men of fluid sexuality like Mr. Stone. Shame on the judge and her kangaroo court.

  2. This is for Peter Paint Chips who keeps complaining about the right being sympathetic to Bernie Sanders. The article has an additional kick. Like the Washington Post has done with others seeking the Presidency they are now saying Bernie is being backed by the Russians. Is there a worse paper than the Washington Post? Thank goodness for Fox making sure that people know that even Trump is saying ‘Don’t let them take it away from you’ Bernie.

    Trump congratulates Sanders on Nevada caucuses: ‘Don’t let them take it away from you’

    Nick Givas1 day ago
    Fox News projects that Sen. Bernie Sanders will win the Nevada caucuses

    Fox News projects that Sen. Bernie Sanders will win the Nevada caucuses as questions loom whether any other candidate will be able to beat him for the Democratic nomination.

    Following Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ projected win in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, President Trump tweeted his congratulations and advised the progressive lawmaker to guard his victory closely.

    “Looks like Crazy Bernie is doing well in the Great State of Nevada,” Trump wrote. “Biden & the rest look weak, & no way Mini Mike can restart his campaign after the worst debate performance in the history of Presidential Debates.

    “Congratulations Bernie, & don’t let them take it away from you!” he added.

    Trump followed up with a second tweet, quoting Fox News’ Jon Scott about a report that showed Sanders having strong support from within the Kremlin.

    “The Kremlin is reportedly backing Bernie Sanders bid to win the White House.” Jon Scott @FoxNews,” the president wrote. “Why didn’t somebody tell me this?”

    The Washington Post first reported this week that U.S. officials have determined Moscow is attempting to interfere in the Democratic primary race on Sanders’ behalf.

    “I don’t care, frankly, who [Russian President Vladimir] Putin wants to be president,” Sanders later said in a statement. “My message to Putin is clear: stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do.”

    As of Saturday evening, Sanders led the other 2020 presidential candidates with 53.84 percent of the vote in the Nevada caucuses. Joe Biden was in a distant second with a little over 17 percent, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sat in third place with just over 10 percent at the time of publication.

  3. Likely the motion will not be granted but it is useful for keeping the judge under scrutiny. She will not be able to clean the spatter from her robes so easily. She cannot pretend to be an objective and fair jurist in the future. Every decision and ruling in political cases will be scrutinized for agendas outside the law. And her taint spreads to other judges in the public eye. It is costing them respect and authority. And it is costing the law. She should step down. Too much damage has already been done by this radical.

    1. I should add that she has opened the door for overt and public criticism of judges to a degree that was frowned upon, and even unethical for lawyers, in the past. By the time it is over the rest of the judiciary may regret her more than Stone will.

  4. “Exclusive: Randy Credico, key witness in Roger Stone case, on Stone’s 40-month sentence”

    “Randy Credico, a key figure in the Roger Stone trial, on Stone’s 40-month sentence and how Stone’s lies, free liquor at London’s airport, and media spin fueled endless Russiagate falsehoods about a Trump-Wikileaks backchannel.

    “Roger Stone has been sentenced to 40 months in prison for lying to a Congressional investigation of Russiagate and threatening a witness, Randy Credico. Stone falsely claimed to have a secret backchannel to Wikileaks, and that Credico was his source. Stone then tried to intimidate Credico into not contradicting his falsehoods. In an exclusive interview with Pushback, Randy Credico responds to the Stone sentencing and tells the real story of what happened.

    “Guest: Randy Credico, political satirist and broadcaster.”

  5. Number of Pardons (not commutations) by US Presidents:

    Franklin D. Roosevelt: 2,819 pardons
    Harry S. Truman: 1,913 pardons
    Dwight D. Eisenhower: 1,110 pardons
    Woodrow Wilson: 1,087 pardons
    Lyndon Johnson: 960 pardons
    Richard Nixon: 863 pardons
    Calvin Coolidge: 773 pardons
    Herbert Hoover: 672 pardons
    Theodore Roosevelt: 668 pardons
    Jimmy Carter: 534 pardons
    John F. Kennedy: 472 pardons
    Bill Clinton: 396 pardons
    Ronald Reagan: 393 pardons
    William H. Taft: 383 pardons
    Gerald Ford: 382 pardons
    Warren Harding: 386 pardons
    William McKinley: 291 pardons
    Barack Obama: 212 pardons
    George W. Bush: 189 pardons
    George H.W. Bush: 74 pardons
    Donald J. Trump: 10 pardons

    1. We really need to address far more important burning issues in this country than Roger Stone and a bias juror who disgraced the legal system

      Bill Barr should just fire anyone at DOJ who is a political hack from the Clinton and Obama reigns of terror, and start from the ground up, building a world class justice system.

      Comey, John Brennan, Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, all under Obama have destroyed our justice system and the only way to fix it is my purging the system of rats who are feeding off of their beloved carcass: the American people

  6. Calling out a dangerous, racist president is not evidence of bias. You can ask anyone on CNN. Judge Jackson will deny the new trial motion.

  7. Have no fear. The appeals court will apply Rule 4 of Power and ABJ will be ok and sti l l on the case. The juror bias appeal will be heard in about 2 years with Stone rotting in jail all that time. At that point, who cares what happens. Rule 3 of Power kicks in to give him a reprieve. Trump oughta short circuit it with commutation.

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