WASHINGTON — The federal judge overseeing the trial of longtime Trump associate Roger Stone on Thursday denied his motion for a new trial, which was based on a claim of juror bias.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Stone's lawyers failed to demonstrate that a woman selected as a juror was biased against President Donald Trump, that she failed to disclose those views during jury selection and that she should not have been allowed to serve.
"The defendant has not shown that the juror lied; nor has he shown that the supposedly disqualifying evidence could not have been found through the exercise of due diligence at the time the jury was selected," the judge said.
During a hearing in late February, two jurors testified that the woman — later selected as the jury foreperson — never tried to pressure them during deliberations to reach any particular conclusion or told them about news articles or internet postings she saw. To the contrary, one of the jurors said, the forewoman insisted that the jurors be more careful about one of the counts against Stone and that they make sure the government had met its burden of proof.
The forewoman was asked at the hearing about a series of Facebook and Twitter posts she made from 2016 to the months before the trial, which included articles critical of Trump. In one of them, reporting Stone's arrest, she added the comment "Brought to you by the lock-her-up peanut gallery."
Another was a retweet of a comment by civil rights activist Bakari Sellers, contrasting Republican outrage over the FBI's arrest of Stone and the lack of such outcry over police use of force against black defendants.
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Stone's lawyers contended that the forewoman was not honest when she was asked on her juror questionnaire whether she had ever publicly posted comments about Stone, the House investigation of Russian election meddling or special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. "I can't remember. I may have. I'm honestly not sure," she said.
In her testimony, the forewoman — whose name has been widely reported but was not disclosed in court — said she was thinking only about Stone when she filled out the questionnaire, not about his association with Trump.
Stone was sentenced in February to 3-1/3 years in prison but was allowed to remain free on bail while the judge considered his motion for a new trial. His lawyers will almost certainly appeal his conviction and ask that he be allowed to remain out while the case is on appeal.