Politics

Roger Stone judge refuses to withdraw from case, sets hearing for new trial bid by Trump friend

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Key Points
  • The judge handling Roger Stone's criminal case flatly refused his request that she withdraw from the case.
  • Judge Amy Berman Jackson scheduled a hearing for Tuesday on his motion seeking a new trial.
  • Last week, Jackson sentenced President Trump's long-time friend to 40 months in prison for lying to Congress and witness tampering.
  • Trump has not ruled out a pardon.
Former advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump, Roger Stone, arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse, on February 20, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson | Getty Images

The judge handling Roger Stone's criminal case flatly refused on Monday his request that she withdraw from the case, and scheduled a hearing for Tuesday on his motion for a new trial.

In her order, Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington would be closed to the public, but she also scheduled a hearing for 1:30 p.m. ET Tuesday to consider a motion to have it open.

Jackson sentenced President Donald Trump's longtime friend last week to 40 months in prison for lying to Congress and witness tampering. The sentence was suspended pending Jackson's ruling on Stone's request for a new trial.

Monday's actions by Jackson come amid continued speculation that Trump will render all the complicated legal machinations moot by granting a pardon to the Republican operative, whose prosecution the president has repeatedly criticized.

Stone, 67, filed a motion on Friday asking Jackson to disqualify herself from further involvement in the case — including the question of whether he should be granted another trial.

Stone's lawyers argue that Jackson had caused her impartiality to be questioned by saying during the sentencing hearing that the jurors who convicted Stone "served with integrity under difficult circumstances."

The defense says Jackson has effectively prejudged the question of whether one of those jurors, forewoman Tomeka Hart, had committed misconduct. Hart's anti-Trump social media posts became widely known a week before Stone's sentencing.

"It is alleged that a juror misled the Court regarding her ability to be unbiased and fair and the juror attempted to cover up evidence that would directly contradict her false claims of impartiality," defense lawyers said in their motion for a new trial.

In her ruling Monday, Jackson was dismissive of that argument and the rest of Stone's motion, denying the request that she no longer preside over the case. The judge noted that defense lawyers did not argue that she was incorrect in saying the jurors served "under difficult circumstances."

She also noted that she had not made any finding on the question of Stone's request for a new trial in her comment and that she didn't make that comment outside the courtroom.

Jackson also said that in each of the prior motions filed by Stone, she took his requests "seriously" and ruled "with care and impartiality."

"At bottom, given the absence of any factual or legal support for the motion for disqualification, the pleading appears to be nothing more than an attempt to use the Court's docket to disseminate for public consumption the words 'judge' and 'biased' in it," she wrote.