Federal judge rejects Roger Stone's request for her recusal

Stone's request was nothing more than an attempt to "to disseminate a statement for public consumption that has the words 'judge' and 'biased' in it," the judge wrote.
Image: Roger Stone
Roger Stone arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse on Feb. 20, 2020 in Washington.Mark Wilson / Getty Images

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By Tim Stelloh

A federal judge denied former Trump adviser Roger Stone's request that she recuse herself from a potential new trial, saying in an order Sunday that there was no factual or legal basis for Stone's claims.

The judge, Amy Berman Jackson, of U.S. District Court in Washington, sentenced Stone to three years and four months in prison last week for obstructing a congressional investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

In court papers filed Friday, Stone's lawyers claimed that Jackson couldn't impartially evaluate his request for a new trial over allegations of juror misconduct.

The documents allege that a juror misled the court about her ability to remain unbiased and fair in the case. The juror is not named in the documents, but Stone's supporters — including President Donald Trump — have said the jury forewoman showed "significant bias."

The forewoman, Tomeka Hart, ran for Congress in Tennessee as a Democrat in 2012, a fact she disclosed during jury selection. She told Jackson that she could fairly evaluate the evidence, and Stone's lawyers did not seek to have her removed from the jury.

When four career prosecutors removed themselves from Stone's case over a move to lessen Stone's sentence, Hart said on social media: "It pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors."

In Stone's motion to have Jackson removed from the case, his lawyers pointed to comments she made during Stone's sentencing, when she said jurors had "served with integrity under difficult circumstances."

"The Court's ardent conclusion of 'integrity' indicates an inability to reserve judgment on an issue which has yet been heard," the documents claim.

But Jackson rejected the claims, saying they were speculative and at odds with the U.S. Supreme Court and an appeals case cited in Stone's motion.

Jackson added that she was "scrupulous" in ensuring Stone's right to a fair trial — "even after he took to social media to intimidate the Court, after he violated conditions imposed by the Court, after he was convicted at trial, and after he was sentenced to a term of incarceration."

Without factual or legal support, Jackson wrote, Stone's effort to disqualify her appeared to be "nothing more than an attempt to use the Court's docket to disseminate a statement for public consumption that has the words 'judge' and 'biased' in it."