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. Transcript Of Foreperson Hart Being Screened

    Excerpt From “The French Report” (see below)

    Did Hart truthfully answer every material question on voir dire? If so, then these “revelations” aren’t revelations at all, and the likelihood that they could form the foundation of a new trial are slim to none. Fortunately, there’s a transcript of the oral voir dire, and the transcript does not help Roger Stone.

    Hart (identified only as Juror 1261, but identifiable by her statement that she ran for Congress and other biographical details) was questioned by the trial judge and by defense counsel. After first asking questions about Hart’s prior service on a grand jury, the judge asked a series of key questions:

    THE COURT: You’ve also indicated a fair amount of paying attention to news and social media including about political things?

    PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.

    THE COURT: And when we asked what you read or heard about the defendant, you do understand that he was involved in Mr. Trump’s campaign in some way?

    PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.

    THE COURT: Is there anything about that that affects your ability to judge him fairly and impartially sitting here right now in this courtroom?

    PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Absolutely not.

    THE COURT: What is it that you have read or heard about him?

    PROSPECTIVE JUROR: So nothing that I can recall specifically. I do watch sometimes paying attention but sometimes in the background CNN. So I recall just hearing about him being part of the campaign and some belief or reporting around interaction with the Russian probe and interaction with him and people in the country, but I don’t have a whole lot of details. I don’t pay that close attention or watch C-SPAN.

    THE COURT: Can you kind of wipe the slate clean and learn what you need to learn in this case from the evidence presented in the courtroom and no other source?

    PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.

    THE COURT: You actually have had some interest in Congress yourself?

    PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.

    THE COURT: Does the fact that this case involves allegations of not being truthful to Congress, is that something that you think that the nature of the allegations

    alone would make it hard for you to be fair?

    PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.

    The prosecution declined to ask Hart any questions. Then, defense counsel had its turn:

    MR. BUSCHEL: Did you ever work for anyone in Congress?

    PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.

    MR. BUSCHEL: You’ve worked on campaigns for Congress people running for Congress?

    PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I ran for Congress.

    MR. BUSCHEL: You ran for Congress?

    PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I worked on my own campaign.

    MR. BUSCHEL: And you have friends who worked for other congressmen?

    PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yes.

    MR. BUSCHEL: Do you have any political aspirations now?

    PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I don’t know, not federal.

    MR. BUSCHEL: What might they be?

    PROSPECTIVE JUROR: My home state in Tennessee. No local.

    MR. BUSCHEL: Just recognize that there might be some media— What are your aspirations?

    PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I served, can I just say I served in political office in Memphis in a local office on the school board. So I, one day I wake up and say I run for, you know, office again in Memphis to impact education. One day I wake up and say no way in the world would I do that. So I don’t have an immediate plan to run for office.

    MR. BUSCHEL: The fact that you run for an office, you’re affiliated with a political party. Roger Stone is affiliated with the Republican party, Donald Trump. You understand what I’m saying and getting at?

    PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I do.

    MR. BUSCHEL: How do you feel about that?

    MR. KRAVIS: Objection.

    THE COURT: Can you make that question a little bit more crisp? Is there anything about his affiliation with the Trump campaign and the Republican party in general that gives you any reason to pause or hesitate or think that you couldn’t fairly evaluate the evidence against him?

    PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.

    MR. BUSCHEL: Thank you, ma’am.

    THE COURT: All right, you can step out.

    R. BUSCHEL: Thank you, ma’am.

    THE COURT: All right, you can step out.

    (Prospective juror leaves courtroom.)

    THE COURT: Mr. Buschel, you have a motion?

    MR. BUSCHEL: No.

    THE COURT: Okay, let’s bring in the next juror.

    So let’s recap. Stone’s lawyers knew that she was generally familiar with Stone, they knew she ran for Congress, they specifically asked about political bias, and then refused to seek her removal.

    Edited from: “Is There A stone Jury Scandal? Not So Fast”

    By David French from his blog “The French Report 2/13/20

    1. THE COURT: Can you make that question a little bit more crisp? Is there anything about his affiliation with the Trump campaign and the Republican party in general that gives you any reason to pause or hesitate or think that you couldn’t fairly evaluate the evidence against him?

      PROSPECTIVE JUROR: No.

      Thank you Seth. This part of what you posted is really funny.

    2. THE COURT: Is there anything about that that affects your ability to judge him fairly and impartially sitting here right now in this courtroom?

      PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Absolutely not.

      This is great stuff, Seth! Please keep the laughs coming.

  2. Roger’s counsel clearly let that juror on in order to clear the way for more than one trial. Either a really bad move or a smart one depending on whether a new trial is granted. Jon seems to say yes, grant one.

    1. Roger’s counsel clearly let that juror on in order to clear the way for more than one trial.

      Nice try. Actually, they moved to strike an Obama Administration official who landed in the jury pool. The judge seated that juror.

        1. “Highly doubtful”

          Paul, do you draw these conclusions out of thin air without any verification of what you believe or say? I read a similar news report as DSS has reported above. At least this conclusion inadvertantly demonstrates that you might believe a bit of unfairness existed at Stone’s trial.That is a start.

          1. do you draw these conclusions out of thin air
            ________________________________________
            If you believe a conclusion that alone is pretty good evidence it is quite likely false.

              1. That is a conclusion. Is it false?
                _____________________________________
                I didn’t say you were incapable of reaching a correct conclusion. I guessed that you were capable of doing that, but I have never seen you do it on this forum before.

                1. That is because you believe 2+2 = 3 or if the wind blows a different way 2+2 =5. That is OK because you don’t sound like anyone that deals in numbers or reality. The sagacity of a conclusion is in the eyes of the beholder. If you thought I reached a correct conclusion I would be forced to reconsider.

                  1. That is because you believe 2+2 = 3 or if the wind blows a different way 2+2 =5.
                    _________________________________
                    See…
                    You went right back to false conclusions after your record-breaking streak of one correct conclusion.

                    1. Those would be your conclusions, not mine.
                      _____________________________

                      There’s another false conclusion…
                      It didn’t take long for you to prove I was correct thar your conclusions are likely to be false.

              1. Paul, what is the context of that question? To the comment made by DSS you said “Highly doubtful” but I had read a similar article saying the same thing so I asked on what basis you made that statement. I responded to Jinn’s comment “2 + 2 = 4 That is a conclusion. Is it false?” Then you said “Okay, let’s go with 2+2=4…” and added a question that appeared unrelated to the context of either discussion.

                I want to make sure I am clear as to what subject you are involving yourself in.

    1. This interview may be of interest
      __________________________________________
      Thanks Jill.
      That confirms my belief that Roger Stone created this whole kerfuffle. This is what he does for a living. It is absolutely ridiculous that Mueller prosecuted this guy, but that just shows you how desperate Mueller was. This prosecution is so absurd it is down right embarrassing.

      Credico does make it clear that he was Roger Stone’s only connection to Wiki Leaks, but it was a pathetically weak connection. There was a picture of Credico outside the Embassy where Assange was residing and Stone essentially fabricated a story around that picture. The whole purpose was to insinuate himself into the Trump campaign. To make them believe he was a valuable asset. And of course Roger Stone simply cannot admit that he is a nobody who had nothing and he made it all up.

      You got feel for Credico. He keeps telling people that the whole narrative that wikileaks worked with Russia to help Trump is complete BS, but nobody wants to hear it.

    2. I posted the video, earlier today, not realizing that you had already posted it.

      Anyway, credit to Jill. Thanks.

  3. She is crooked as a dogs leg and should have been removed before now. She proved herself to not have any integrity by her actions and statements railroading Stone,to get him to turn on Trump. She should be disbarred and removed.

  4. Truth in our culture is whatever one wants to think; facts are obstacles to be discarded in making judgements. Judges like Amy Jackson and Justices like Ruth Ginsburg have shown themselves to be far more human than average Americans. They should all resign en masse to give Americans hope in the US Courts. Alas that would take introspection.

    We are witnessing a dictatorship of relativism at full throttle.

    Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be “tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine”, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.

    – Cdl. Joseph Ratzinger
    April 2005

    PRO ELIGENDO ROMANO PONTIFICE
    http://www.vatican.va/gpII/documents/homily-pro-eligendo-pontifice_20050418_en.html

  5. Comment On Turley’s Column For “The Hill”

    RichardBroderickJr StillRelaxin
    an hour ago

    Both the prosecution and the defense get unlimited challenges for cause in addition to a number of peremptory challenges allowing them to remove a potential juror for no reason. Stone is an attorney and both he and his attorney knew that this potential Juror was an attorney and a prior democratic candidate for Congress, yet they decided to put her on the Jury. F.R.Crim.P. 24

    Avatar
    Rachel RichardBroderickJr
    an hour ago
    Well, then, they planned this all along.

    Avatar
    RichardBroderickJr Rachel
    38 minutes ago
    Quite obviously from the point of view of any attorney who has ever picked a jury.
    ……………………………………………………………

    The above exchange certainly raises questions about Stone’s defense team. Did they not make a good-faith effort to screen the jury?

  6. If the allegations are true ?

    The posts were made publicly on social media.

    Are you saying there is some doubt of them ?

    Were her Hart’s posts forged ?

    I would understand the presumption of innocence – if maybe Stone had been afforded the same.

    Stone never should have been CHARGED. This entire mess is bunk.

    Jackson has been subject to an enormous amount of public attention as a result of the Manafort and Stone trials – and unfortunately she has come off as arrogant and prejudiced.

    Arguably many of her “judgement calls” are supported by “bad law”, But they all lean one way regardless,

    Jackson used her position as judge in both trials to bully the defendants as much as the law would allow her to – and then a bit more.

    It is unfortunately probable that her bias is “the norm” for judges, and likely has the “respect” of the rest of the court as well as apelate judges.

    That is just evidence of systemic failure.

    The “threats” by Stone – are free speech – Elonis vs. US.
    If threatening to shoot your wife and bomb the police do not overcome the first amendment, then Godfather parodies do not either.

    Are we going to extend the nonsense that you can not joke about “bombs” with the TSA to a global prohibition against irony, sarcasm and joking in our communications ?

    The threats charges never should have been filed, and they never should have made it to a jury. Much less a clearly biased on.

    Much of the failure of this prosecution is Jackson’s fault.

    Even her statements with sentencing – make it clear of her own Biases against Stone.

    No, innocent people are not obligated to be deferential to the government as they are being investigated and prosecuted.

    Even the quilty are entitled to the presumption of innocence and a fair trial, but jurors and a judge who did not prejude the case.

    Please read Jackson’s remarks and explain to me any interpretation of them other than because you have subsequently been found guilty you will be punished more for protesting your own innocence before.

  7. Jonathan: You are “taken aback” by Judge Jackson’s statement in the sentencing hearing for Roger Stone that he was being “prosecuted for covering up for the president”. You say: “The evidence shows that Stone was covering up aspects of his own conduct”. The actual evidence shows otherwise. The indictment that led to Stone’s conviction for lying to Congress details six occasions where Stone denied having e-mails about WikiLeaks’ release of documents from the Clinton campaign and said he didn’t discuss the e-mails with anyone in the Trump campaign. Not true. A few days before Wikileaks began its dump of the Clinton documents Stephen Bannon, then-Trump campaign manager, sent an e-mail to Stone asking about what was coming from WikiLeaks. Stone replied: “a load every week going forward”. In his opening statement in the Stone case prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky told the jury: “The evidence in this case will show that Roger Stone lied to the House Intelligence Committee because the truth looks bad for the Trump campaign and the truth looked bad for Donald Trump”. In his closing statement prosecutor Jonathan Kravis echoed this sentiment: “Roger Stone knew that if this information came out, it would look really bad for his longtime associate Donald Trump.” The jury agreed that Stone’s main motivation for lying to Congress and threatening a witness was to protect Trump. Judge Jackson was only summing up what the prosecutors proved. Stone was willing to fall on the sword for Trump because he expects the president will eventually pardon him. It strains credulity to believe Stone had any other motive or that Trump was not aware of Stone’s activities on his behalf.

    1. Anonymous, pointing out what Turley leaves out can take days to write about. Turley does not like stating the obvious truth about his whitewashing of Trump and Barr. Oh sure, he gives lip service and sometimes says he don’t agree with everything about the cases, but like always he uses his MO of picking fly crap out of pepper.

  8. Win or lose with the appeal, Mr. Stone builds on the perception that he did not get a fair trial.

    Judge Jackson is at fault for allowing her dislike of Stone (and Pres. Trump) to show.

    Not her finest moment.

  9. Jackson is a respected and experience judge.

    Which tells you something about the culture of the Bar in this country. Not something good.

  10. Judge Amy Jackson is a DEM ACTIVIST and should be removed for her hate of Trump, lack of fairness, her comments, the way she runs her court room and her restrictions on free speech.

    Stone should have a new trial and new judge.

    Trump will pardon him after everything plays out

  11. Most judges have at some time rebuked convicts in their court. This does not necessarily speak to bias. To me the real problem is her gag order. The trial is over. What right or authority does she have to remove or restrict his right to free speech? If anything gets her removed, this may be it and probably should be.

  12. The defense knew the juror’s background. In turn, Stone knew as well. I suggest a setup for a new trial. As far as the Trump/Stone/Wikileaks, the Steve Bannon testimony stated, Stone was the point man for Trump and Wikileaks. I would suggest that should play part in your consideration … A “cover up” suggests that Stone was hiding damaging information against Trump.

    1. “And when we asked what you read or heard about the defendant, you do understand that he was involved in Mr. Trump’s campaign in some way?” Jackson asked.

      “Yes,” she said.

      “Is there anything about that that affects your ability to judge him fairly and impartially sitting here right now in this courtroom?” Jackson queried.

      “Absolutely not,” Hart answered.

      “What is it that you have read or heard about him?” asked Jackson.

      “So nothing that I can recall specifically,” Hart replied. “I do watch sometimes paying attention but sometimes in the background CNN.”

      “So I recall just hearing about him being part of the campaign and some belief or reporting around interaction with the Russian probe and interaction with him and people in the country, but I don’t have a whole lot of details. I don’t pay that close attention or watch C-SPAN,” she continued.

      “Can you kind of wipe the slate clean and learn what you need to learn in this case from the evidence presented in the courtroom and no other source?” Jackson asked, to which Hart responded, “Yes.”
      ————————–
      This is part of the exchange between Judge Jackson and Tameka Hart. Leaving aside what the defense knew or did not know about Hart, her history and social media posts show that she had strong opinions, and those comments on social media show that she did far more than just hear about the case beyond having CNN on in the background.

        1. This is a very good article. Thanks for sharing it.

          I was a case agent on a case in which a juror would not participate in the deliberation of the jury. The juror just sat in the corner reading a book and ignored everyone. The jurors were fumed and sent word to the judge. In the end, the case ended in a hung jury. We retried the case and you can guess what happened during the next trial. Again, another juror sat back and ignored the jury deliberations. This time the jurors were not going to take it. They persisted in appealing to the judge to do something about the juror. The judge took a totally unprecedented step and called each juror into the court one by one and asked if the situation was true. All eleven jurors answered in the affirmative. The judge called in the problem juror and informed the juror they were excused. The judge ruled, with the absence of case law that the trial would proceed with eleven jurors, that the deliberations would resume. The individual, responsible for putting thousands of pounds of heroin on the streets, was convicted unanimously by the eleven jurors. A short time later, Bureau of Prisons provided a voice recording of the convicted asking the organization what went wrong with the jurors they paid. I know this is different than these facts but after so many years and numerous trials, I thought things like this happened only on television. The FBI was provided with this information, 9/11 had just happened and as things went they were just too busy and we had to move on to assist in the aftermath of the attacks. The court of appeals upheld the judge’s sound decision to continue with eleven jurors. It shows the integrity juries and judges have to their duty. I suppose that in Stone’s case the true judge of what happened with this juror should be the other eleven jurors. In my years of experience with different juries, I have faith that our citizenry are fair and just. The right to due process should never be taken for granted or abused. The accused should always be given their Constitutional rights afforded them no matter who they are or what convictions the public holds.

  13. “King John was not a good man, he had his little ways,
    And sometimes nno-one spoke to him for days and days and days …”

    So with King Donald of the Order of Bone Spurs, the first of his name …

  14. 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.

    What was Stone trying to “cover up”? Has anyone figured that out?

    1. So it seems to me judge A BJ is caught lying in court, Steve Bannon is caught lying to the govt & many others.

      Vid a bit over 12 minutes.

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