Attorneys for Roger Stone late Friday filed a motion arguing the federal judge who sentenced him to more than three years in prison should recuse herself from deciding his request for a new trial.
Defense attorneys said Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s statements just before sentencing Stone Thursday afternoon show she’s already made up her mind about whether a juror was biased against the longtime GOP operative.
Stone is seeking a new trial based on social media posts by the forewoman in his trial, Tomkea Hart, saying she never should have been allowed on the jury because of Twitter posts mocking Stone’s arrest. She has also called Trump supporters racists.
Moments before Judge Jackson handed down Stone’s sentence on Thursday afternoon, she praised the jury for their work in the case.
While accusing Stone’s attorneys of raising a “Who cares?” defense, Judge Jackson gave a lengthy speech expressing her disgust with that argument.
“The jurors who served with integrity under difficult circumstances cared. The American people cared. And I cared,” she told the courtroom.
Stone’s legal team says such emphatic statements prove Judge Jackson has prejudged his new trial bid.
“The Court’s ardent conclusion of ‘integrity’ indicates an inability to reserve judgment on an issue which has yet been heard,” his attorneys wrote in a filing just before midnight Friday.
“The premature statement blessing the ‘integrity of the jury’ undermines the appearance of impartiality and presents a strong bias for recusal,” the continued.
Ms. Hart, a former Democratic congressional candidate and anti-Trump activist, has become a focal point for Stone’s supporters.
President Trump weighed in this week saying she should have been barred from sitting on the jury.
“It is my strong opinion that the forewoman of the jury, the woman who was in charge of this jury is totally tainted. When you take a look, how can you have a person like this? She was an anti-Trump activist. Can you imagine this?” he said.
No jurors, including Ms. Hart, were named in the Stone’s recusal motion.