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Roger Stone Seeks New Trial Amid Juror Bias Controversy

Roger Stone Seeks New Trial Amid Juror Bias Controversy

“the day she voted to convict Stone … Hart tweeted two ‘heart’ emojis, followed by two pump-fist emojis”

Roger Stone, a former advisor to President Trump, was indicted in January of last year for process crimes stemming from the Mueller investigation.  He was convicted in November, and the prosecution’s sentencing recommendation was for seven to nine years behind bars, a sentence deemed by many, including Trump, to be excessive.

In the wake of the sentencing turmoil, the jury foreperson, Tomeka Hart, took to Facebook to “stand up for” the prosecutors.  In so doing, she attracted sufficient attention that her anti-Trump social media posts, including some related to the Stone case before she was on the jury, were located.

These revelations, in turn, set off an avalanche of allegations of her bias, particularly due to her role as jury foreperson.  Stone has requested a new trial, though the impetus for and contents of this request are not yet known.

Fox News reports:

Former Memphis City Schools Board President Tomeka Hart revealed Wednesday that she was the foreperson of the jury that convicted former Trump adviser Roger Stone on obstruction charges last year — and soon afterward, her history of Democratic activism and a string of her anti-Trump, left-wing social media posts came to light.

Hart even posted specifically about the Stone case before she was selected to sit on the jury, as she retweeted an argument mocking those who considered Stone’s dramatic arrest in a predawn raid by a federal tactical team to be excessive force. She also suggested President Trump and his supporters are racist and praised the investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which ultimately led to Stone’s prosecution.

. . . . The drama began when Hart confirmed to CNN and other media organizations Wednesday that she had written a Facebook post supporting the Justice Department prosecutors in the Stone case who abruptly stepped down from their posts on Tuesday, saying she “can’t keep quiet any longer.” The prosecutors apparently objected after senior DOJ officials overrode their recommendation to Jackson that Stone face up to 9 years in prison.

“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.”

Following her post, revelations about her political beliefs and history, as well as her apparent anti-Trump, anti-Stone bias surfaced.

Fox News continues:

Independent journalist Mike Cernovich, not CNN, then first reported that a slew of Hart’s other publicly available Twitter and Facebook posts readily suggested a strong political bias. Some of Hart’s posts were written as Stone’s trial was in progress.

Hart, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2012, quoted someone in an August 2017 tweet referring to Trump as a member of the KKK.

In January 2019, she retweeted a post by pundit Bakari Sellers, who noted that “Roger Stone has y’all talking about reviewing use of force guidelines,” before suggesting that racism was the reason for all the attention Stone’s arrest had received from conservatives.

. . . . In August 2019, Hart called all Trump supporters “racist.”

“Gotta love it!” Hart wrote on Jan. 13, 2018, in response to a news report that a vulgarity had been projected onto the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

. . . . Most of Hart’s posts were from before she was selected to sit on the Stone jury late 2019. But, on Nov. 15, 2019 — the day she voted to convict Stone on seven counts of obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress — Hart tweeted two “heart” emojis, followed by two pump-fist emojis.

(None of Stone’s charges accused him of engaging in a criminal conspiracy with Russia or any other actors concerning election interference; instead, his offenses related to his statements concerning his contacts with WikiLeaks and others.)

It is as yet unclear how much prosecutors or the defense team knew about Hart’s activism and anti-Trump, anti-Stone social media posts.

Politico reports that Stone has requested a new trial.

Roger Stone, the longtime confidant of Donald Trump whose criminal conviction angered the president and led to the turmoil engulfing the Justice Department, is making another bid for a new trial.

The move by Stone’s defense team was disclosed by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson in an order Friday, but the motion itself remains secret.


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If anyone deserves a new trial, it’s Roger Stone. Hell, I’m hoping for charges to be brought against this judge and this jury foreman over this crap.

    Lucifer Morningstar in reply to Aitch748. | February 15, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    No, if anyone deserves to have all convictions overturned and dismissed with prejudice (I think that’s the term) and allowed to attempt to rebuild his life, it’s Roger Stone. At this point there is no real reason to have a do-over because some dumb ass juror lied on the jury questionnaire and nobody caught it.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Aitch748. | February 15, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    That is not likely to happen.

Imagine how bad it would have been for Stone if he had any actual role in the Trump campaign! The set-up they pulled on Barr and the President might have included a suggestion of capital punishment if Stone had any part in the campaign. Stone is an old friend of the President but had no role in the campaign.

There is no way that a candidate involved in politics can receive a fair trial within the Beltway. A retrial should have a change of venue (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Phoenix, etc).

Amy Berman Jackson is the left’s “go-to” judge. An Obama appointee, she always has the Democrats; back and will do anything in her power to convict Republicans – from stacking a jury to denying defendants’ constitutional rights. Hart was not the only biased juror Berman Jackson seated.

Judge Berman may find herself in a lose-lose bind of the sort that lifetime tenure of federal judges is designed to address. Depending (but only a little) on whether the juror lied outright, was truthful but failed to provide relevant information if asked whether there was anything else that the court should know, or was never asked about all this implicitly or explicitly, if the judge does declare a mistrial the Democrats will skewer her for incompetence in screwing up an important case, while if she does not bring the jury and prosecutors back in for questioning or does question them but ends up leaving the verdict intact, the conviction may be reversed. If she declines even to question the jury, she might well be impeached for misconduct the next time the Republicans control the House.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | February 15, 2020 at 7:36 pm

Think everything Flynn’s lawyer says also applies to Roger.

Want to read a fascinating book by Roger Stone?

The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ

    Paul In Sweden in reply to | February 16, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    That Roger Stone ebook has been sitting around on my system waiting to be read but I tend more towards hard non-fiction and have been putting it off; but I have it and TheFineReport recommendation moves it higher up on the pile.

    Right now I would really like a comprehensive book on the Iran-Contra Affair. Back then I was working my butt off and did not pay close enough attention. I have a few but they seem to be more conspiracy oriented. Anyone have a good one for me?

Am I the only person who thinks it weird that Mark O’Mara and Don West were able to flush out the corrupt prospective juror during voir dire in the George Zimmerman trial, but the presumably high-powered lawyers representing Stone failed to do so in a Federal trial?


Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC

    Vancomycin in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 15, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    I read somewhere that Stones attorneys at the time requested to strike her as a juror, but the judge said “no”.

      Were that my client, I would have shouted that to the heavens, gag order or no gag order. I’d rather be doing free appellate work for the other prisoners.

      I never have, and never will, allow a client to be railroaded into the rest of their life in prison because I might be held in contempt otherwise.



      Attorney Andrew F. Branca
      Law of Self Defense LLC

        I’ve seen a transcript of the oral void dire on another blog and it appears “Juror 1261” gave more than enough indication that she was trouble. Her news source of choice was CNN and she admitted that she ran for Congress and didn’t completely rule out further political aspirations. After she was excused the Court specifically asked Stone’s counsel (Buschel) if he wished to move to strike the prospective juror and he said “No”. Absolute gross incompetence!

          thad_the_man in reply to RNJD. | February 16, 2020 at 4:37 am

          Very likely they had already moved to have her stricken for cause, and the judge refused. That would mean they would have to use a peremptory

          Peremptory challenges are like football timeouts. You want to keep them in reserve for when you really need them.

          More than likely there were ten more like her behind her.

          dystopia in reply to RNJD. | February 16, 2020 at 8:25 am

          The questionnaire alone made the juror unremarkable. They all watch CNN in the District of Columbia. Was Berman exclusively questioning the jurors during Voire Dire as permitted by Rule 47?

          If she was not, she will deny any Motion for a retrial without further questioning of the juror. She may or may not be upheld by the Circuit Court of Appeals depending on makeup of the panel. John Roberts will punt on this one — to toxic. They want to leave the onus on Trump.

          I am so sad the the United States of America holds political show trials.

          bw222 in reply to RNJD. | February 16, 2020 at 5:09 pm

          I have read several lawyers state that judges have far more control in federal courts than non federal courts and attorneys have far less descretion.

          bw222 in reply to RNJD. | February 16, 2020 at 6:11 pm

          What’s the difference between a Reublican going to trial with a DC jury and a black man going to trial with a Klan jury?

      Paul In Sweden in reply to Vancomycin. | February 16, 2020 at 4:11 pm

      This is absolutely jaw dropping. Lady Justice may be blind but lately I am thinking someone gave her a lobotomy. How could happen? How could anyone have thought this would not be discovered?

    I have read multiple sources that have indicated that the “judge” berman denied virtually all defense attempts to reject any jurors.

      Lucifer Morningstar in reply to Lewfarge. | February 15, 2020 at 9:34 pm

      I read Judge Berman told the defense lawyers that any juror’s political stances/positions didn’t make a difference and that was the reason she refused to remove any jurors.

        Particularly since the trial location went 93% to Hillary in 2016, and they’d have to drag in a few hundred jurors to find a dozen who were not Hillaryites, married to people in the DOJ who were involved in the Mueller investigation, or otherwise members of the extended DNC.

        Eventually the jury names will leak. At that point, I’m willing to bet a crisp ten dollar bill that the Hillary for President campaign donations from the jurors and their immediate families exceed the Trump campaign donations by a ratio of 10:1, or even 50:1

    thad_the_man in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 16, 2020 at 4:23 am

    Do you practice in Federal Court?
    I ask since your practice probably keeps you in local courts.

    There was a great youtube interview with a Canadian lawyer, who calls himself Viva Frei, of Robert Barnes — lawyer for some of the Convington boys — talk about the Stone case and federal courts in general.

    In it he describes typical void dire in Federal Court as lasting fifteen minutes, though that may just be the DC circuit.

    It didn’t help that Stone posted a picture of the Judge in crosshairs. Which gave her all the excuse she needed to put the case under extreme seal.

    First post so be gentle replying.

    Here is a link to Turley’s article which provides some of what was said at the time and what was unknown about her:

    The question is now: How likely is Judge Berman to grant a new trial and how likely is her decision not to to be overturned on appeal.

who ever is vetting these jury pools needs to be investigated, the judge and any staff she had assisting

I have a question for all you lawyer types.

Do you know if Trump can commute the sentence in the following way?
Delay execution of the sentence until after all appeals are exhausted?

What we are watching is the natural result of the deep state being found out. On one side you have those demanding to maintain the status quo for the deep state where the law is used as a political weapon to push their agenda while the other side wants the entire mess cleaned up.
Now we have a huge mess with inconsistencies,logical impossibilities, etc., becoming more obvious every day with the net result being a capricious and patently unfair system that is making less and less sense. Making this worse is the partisan MSM who is stirring the pot still hoping to find a way to eliminate Trump by reporting propaganda instead of news. It is only going to get worse as time goes by.
This leaves Barr with the problem of either trying to fix it or ignore it. If he tries to fix it, then much of the DOJ leadership would be imprisoned for sedition with others from the State Department etc., not far behind. Think about all the ramifications of this. The disruption to our government would be catastrophic with implications that defy the imagination. Somehow Barr has to find a way out of this mess.
In the meantime we see things like McCabe not facing legal actions even though he appears to have done far more and worse than Flynn who has been destroyed legally and financially. Roger Stone is in the same situation and this is all going to get worse before it gets better. And by worse I mean worse than anything that has ever happened before (politically and legally) to this country including the Civil War.

So in fairness, from what I have read, it seems that Stone did at least commit process crimes; lying/perjury. Let’s not lose sight of that.

Other posts have also alluded to the likely political party affiliation and potential bias of any jury ultimately seated from that district. This is another important fact to keep in mind.

That said, IMO, the Judge needs to make the easy choice here; vacate the the decision and declare a mistrial. Easy because she can point to recent reporting about the extent of jury bias that has now come to light. Yes hardcore d will flip out, but the reality is Stone will still face potential prosecution and the associated legal costs. The man is 68, if offered a plea of 6 to 18 months and probation he should take it.

As to the dual track ‘application of justice’ apparent in this and LTG Flynn case vs similarly situated d party officials or higher level federal employees, this seems simple to me. The AG should do the following.

1. Create a new FARA, foreign agent registration task force.
2. Create a new Congressional perjury task force.
3. Announce a 6 month window for folks to come forward and admit to any violations or potential violations. This should result in a deferred prosecution pending future violations.
4. Begin reviewing FARA registration status of every former federal official who were elected, appointed or were employed above GS status.
5. Same with congressional testimony.
6. Those who are identified as violating have their security clearance, if any, revoked.
7. Additionally those who choose not to come forward are referred for prosecution.

This would have the effect of rooting out the overtly criminal behavior of the ‘revolving door’ of lobbyists, while placing clear deterrent to covert influence peddling.

    randian in reply to CommoChief. | February 16, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    If the point is to render Stone destitute, which at 68 he can’t recover from, and get his lawyers to quit because they know they won’t get paid, then the prosecution wants mistrials. They can go at it again and again as many times as necessary to accomplish the result.

No way this leftist is going to grant a new trial. If the jury foreman lied on her questionnaire, it should be good enough, but unfortunately she will blame Stone’s lawyers and deny the motion. Trump should pardon Stone immediately after her denial.