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. Tomeka Hart Unfairly Targeted

    Yesterday I provided extensive coverage of Yesterday I provided extensive coverage of Tomeka Hart, the Jury Foreperson of Roger Stone’s trial. Interestingly conservative sources helped me paint the picture I desired.  

    The picture is this: ‘Tomeka Hart is a Black educated professional living in Washington D.C’.  Roger Stone’s Defense Team must have recognized Hart’s political sympathies. Unless they were deluded by memes describing ‘The Democratic Plantation’.

    An educated Black woman in Washington D.C. is more than likely a Democrat with liberal political leanings.  Washington D.C. is, in fact, a politically liberal city.  So one could argue Roger Stone was being tried by jurors representative of the community.  

    Stone’s Defense had every opportunity to question Hart further on her political views. For that reason I pasted transcripts of Hart’s screening by Stone’s lawyers.  One can see they didnt press Hart too far.  Stone’s Defense seemed content with the answers Hart gave.

    Stone’s Lawyers were responsible for screening the jurors.  That’s an important phase of defense: ‘picking the right jury’.

    To come back now and say, “That hostile Black woman lied her way into the jury”, is inexcusable.  It reeks of sour grapes!  And the fact that Hart is Black makes the optics really bad. It signals that, ‘No friend of Trump’s should be tried by a Black juror’.

    Then there is the question of Ms Hart’s safety and security.  To be named, by rightwing media, as the juror who ‘rigged a case against Donald Trump’s old buddy’ is obviously a stressor.  Some deluded yahoo could come gunning for Ms Hart.  She works at the Gates Foundation in Washington, according to all coverage.  

    Right now Tomeka Hart is probably fearful for her safety and career.  She doesn’t want to be remembered as a ‘controversial juror’. That stains Hart’s integrity.  No one wants to go the rest of their life explaining ‘what happened’. 

    Though one doubts if Trump and Stone care about Tomeka Hart.  Hart is only roadkill for White guys like them; a billionaire president and his dirty trickster of a friend.  To them Tomeka Hart is just some chick they slap aside.  Judge Amy Berman Jackson is another.  Trump and Stone are slapping her aside as well.

    1. “ Trump and Stone are slapping her aside as well.”

      Trump is straight, Stone is gay, what will they ever do “slapping” with an angry, violent TDS black chick who cuts the nuts off of white men for Twittee likes?

      SMH

  2. Daily Caller Coverage Of Tomeka Hart 

    Hart was interviewed on Nov. 5, 2019 along with a group of other potential jurors. Hart is not identified by name in the transcript (she is referred to as Juror Number 1261), but the description matches her resume.

    “You’ve also indicated a fair amount of paying attention to news and social media including about political things?” Judge Amy Berman Jackson asked Hart.

    “Yes,” she replied.

    “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.”

    But Hart’s Twitter account suggests that she closely followed the Russia probe and other investigations involving Trump associates.

    On Nov. 5, 2017 she tweeted a story about leaked documents purporting to show that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had secret ties to associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin. On March 3, 2017, she circulated a New Yorker story entitled, “Trump, Putin and the New Cold War.” On March 24, 2019, Hart wrote that Republicans were “ignoring the numerous indictments, guilty pleas, and convictions of people in 45’s inner-circle” that stemmed from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. 

    Hart did not comment directly about Stone, whose case stemmed from Mueller’s investigation. But she did retweet a Jan. 30, 2019 post by CNN contributor Bakari Sellers that downplayed conservative criticism of the circumstances of Stone’s arrest.

    It is unclear why Stone’s lawyers did not strike Hart from the jury pool given her political leanings.

    The court transcript shows that Stone attorney Robert Buschel pressed Hart about whether she had any future political aspirations.

    “I don’t know, not federal,” said Hart, who served on the Memphis, Tennessee, school board before running for Congress.

    Judge Jackson interjected during the line of questioning to ask Hart whether Trump or Stone’s political affiliations would change how she weighed evidence at trial.

    “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?” Jackson asked.

    Hart answered: “No.”

    Edited from: “Here’s What The Lead Roger Stone Juror Said During Jury Selection”

    The Daily Caller, 2/13/20

    ……………………………………………….

    KEY PASSAGE FROM ARTICLE:

    “It is unclear why Stone’s lawyers did not strike Hart from the jury pool given her political leanings”.

    1. Fox News Profile Of Tomeka Hart

      Previously, after the prosecutors in the Stone case stepped down, Hart posted on Facebook that she couldn’t “keep quiet any longer.”

      “I want to stand up for Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed, Michael Marando, and Jonathan Kravis — the prosecutors on the Roger Stone trial,” Hart wrote in the post. “It pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors. They acted with the utmost intelligence, integrity, and respect for our system of justice.”

      “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.”

      Hart’s history of anti-Trump social media posts has included quoting someone who referred to Trump as the “#KlanPresident.”

      Fellow juror Seth Cousins defended their guilty verdict against Stone and said Hart was “perhaps the strongest advocate in the room for a rigorous process for the rights of the defendant and for making sure that we took it seriously and looked at each charge,” according to USA Today.

      Hart, now based in Washington, D.C., is a senior program officer for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and has donated to Democrats, including Sen. Kamala Harris and former Obama Cabinet member Julian Castro, according to Heavy.

      In 2012, she unsuccessfully ran for Congress in Tennessee as a Democrat.

      She is also a former VP of strategic partnerships at the Southern Education Foundation, VP of African American community partnerships for Teach For America, and the president/CEO of the Memphis Urban League, according to her biography.

      She previously worked as a middle and high school teacher and was a former labor lawyer.

      Edited from: “Who Is Tomeka Hart?”

      Fox News, 2/21/20

  3. I suggest an investigation into communications between the Judge and the Jury Foreperson before the Jury selection. NSA has all the phone and electronic records. The Judge knew that the Jury was fixed.

    1. NSA has all the phone and electronic records.
      _________________________________________________

      But but but… I thought only Trumps “wires” were tapped.

  4. Just like his Dear Leader, Stone and his lawyers are throwing it up against the wall to see what sticks, it won’t work in Federal Court. The judge didn’t convict him, the jury did.

  5. There comes a day in every case the banister will rest the case.

    Prof Turley, how’s your exposure to the DC Swamp feeling to you? You good, you’re resting right?

    It’d be foolish to ignore what the masses, many more then 70 million, of the citizens are clearly defending their support for President Trump & against the Frauds out of the DC Swamp, Judge A BJ included.

    https://usawatchdog.com/trump-frustrated-about-unprosecuted-deep-state-crimes-kevin-shipp/

  6. The treasonous judicial branch, with emphasis on the Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court, has illegally usurped the power of the legislative and executive branches and nullified, subverted and controverted the U.S. Constitution. The singular American failure has been the Supreme Court. Justice Ginsburg treasonously disparaged the U.S. Constitution and America to a foreign audience in a foreign country having sworn to support the Constitution. Justice Roberts made the unconstitutional constitutional by illicitly commingling the definitions of the words “state” and “federal” to allow the “exchanges” in unconstitutional Obamacare.

    The 5th Amendment right to private property and Article 1, Section 8, have been repealed and replaced by the dictatorship of the judicial branch. Congress has no power to tax for redistribution or regulate free enterprise. The entire American welfare state is unconstitutional including, but not limited to, affirmative action, quotas, welfare, food stamps, rent control, social services, forced busing, minimum wage, utility subsidies, WIC, TANF, HAMP, HARP, Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Labor, Energy, Obamacare, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Social Security Supplemental Income, Medicare, Medicaid, “Fair Housing” laws, “Non-Discrimination” laws, etc.

    Corruption. usurpation and treason have caused the imperative that most judges and justices should be impeached and convicted for treason, however, the hurdle of a 2/3 majority is impossible to achieve antithetically allowing the criminal state of unconstitutionality to endure in perpetuity.

    As the Founders said in the Declaration of Independence and the 2nd Amendment:

    “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,…”

    and

    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    Americans need to “…institute new Government…” through the “…right of the people to keep and bear Arms,…”

    It’s “Back to the Future.”

    All America needs is the “manifest tenor” of its Constitution and Bill of Rights of 1789.

    It is long past time for a redo; a reset; a reimplementation of original American fundamental law – the most perfect law in human history.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    “…courts…must…declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”

    “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

  7. I doubt you could make the case that Jackson is ‘respected’… Judge Jackson said Stone “was prosecuted for covering up for the president.” This is totally untrue. Nobody connected to the president has ever been charged with a crime related to spying for Russia, or colluding with Russia, much less convicted of one. Stone wasn’t prosecuted for “covering up” anything. That wasn’t the charge. That’s not what Stone was sentenced for. Jackson knows this! She lied about it! In other words, here you have a federal judge – one not worthy or respect — lying about the case before her. Turley should find this scary?

    This Judge also placed Stone on a gag order, that remains in effect to this day. I can’t find a single legal expert — maybe Turley can find an exception — of anyone imposing a gag order extending AFTER the jury verdict.

    Turley should pronounce shame on Judge Amy Berman Jackson….or explain to us why these actions are acceptable.

    1. Yes Mark, why did Prof Turley allow this Fed Judge A BJ get away with Lying in a Federal Court while passing a judgement against someone in front of her court a fraudulent case claiming the defendant lied?

      Glass Houses & Stone anyone?

    2. Nobody connected to the president has ever been charged with a crime related to spying for Russia, or colluding with Russia, much less convicted of one. Stone wasn’t prosecuted for “covering up” anything.
      ________________________________________________
      I’m afraid your wrong. The accusation that Stone was lying to cover up the Russia/wikileaks connection to Trump was the charge made by the prosecution in the Stone case. The jury bought it and convicted Stone.

      After the conviction it is not improper for the judge to repeat the same conclusion that the jury had found to be factual.

      That of course doesn’t mean that what the Jury believes to be true is actually true. I think Stone got a tremendously bad defense in court, but it also looks like that is what Stone wanted.

  8. Not sure why anyone is not mentioning the following……….
    The foreperson, it appears, was ineligible to be seated in the first place as her apparent residence is in Tennessee, which is not part of the DC district. Federal court procedure requires that members of the jury pool be residents of and in physical residence within the district for the majority of the previous 12 months prior to selection. This leads to the obvious question: HOW DID SHE GET IN THE POOL AND ON THE TRIAL?

    1. Angela, one could argue Stone’s defense team should have seized on that. Hart told the court her home was Tenessee.

  9. I hope the appeals court overturns the verdict and removes her from the case. Regardless, Stone is not going to serve time. If the courts don’t overrule the verdict, President Trump is going to pardon him.

  10. Reasons not to respect Amy:
    1)She has no respect for the concept of Free Speech and her pre- and post rulings to silence Stone denied him his constitutional rights.
    2)She had the audacity to suggest that the jury had served with integrity when we know that is just a cover-up for her rigging the jury with a Stone/Trump/conservative hater who either lied to Amy or whom Amy covered up for.
    3) She used the bench to make blatantly political statements which explains it all.

    Respect is not given once – it must be earned – and she has clearly shown she doesnt deserve it.

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