Trump Attacks The Jury Foreman Of Roger Stone’s Trial, A Major Escalation
President Donald Trump upped his attack on the case against his friend and confidant Roger Stone this week, tweeting that the foreperson on the jury that convicted Stone “had significant bias.”
According to TPM, Trump did not arrive at this conclusion himself but rather adopted a line of attack already floating around the right-wing press since the night before.
The president used the claim to bolster his argument that the case against Stone — which ended with his conviction on charges of obstruction, witness tampering, and lying to Congress — was bogus.
But there is no indication in the public record that Stone’s defense attorneys raised any issues with the forewoman, who outed herself on Twitter this week.
Mark W. Bennett, a former Iowa federal judge, told TPM that Trump needs to “butt out of it and let the process work its course.”
“There are going to be jurors that are Democrats, Republicans, Independents,” Bennett said. “Just because somebody is registered as a Democrat or active in the Democratic party doesn’t mean that they couldn’t be fair in the case.”
Trump’s tweet escalated a general attack on Stone’s prosecution that had already ramped up this week, with the president complaining that the seven- to nine-year sentence prosecutors initially recommended was too harsh.
The Justice Department subsequently intervened, filing a new recommendation of significantly less time but saying the White House was not consulted on the matter.
“The President is totally out of control,” William Yeomans, a former deputy assistant attorney general, told TPM.
Trump is trying to “rewrite” history, he added, as well as “delegitimize” the convictions resulting from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation — which the president has long decried as a “hoax.”
The identity of the forewoman was revealed after she reportedly made a Facebook post “expressing support for the professionalism of the four prosecutors who resigned in protest from the case this week,” TPM reported.
Right-wing media immediately began circulating the woman’s identity, along with accusations that she was a Democratic Party operative. The Daily Caller published a story indicating that she ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2012.
But this tidbit would be irrelevant, Yeomans said.
“When jurors come to court, they don’t have to be totally ignorant, they can be aware of public affairs, they can have lives outside the jury,” he told TPM. “The only question is whether they are capable of putting aside preconceived beliefs, and coming to an honest conclusion based on the facts and the law,” he added.
TPM noted that Stone’s defense team was given the same opportunity as prosecutors at the trial’s start to examine each potential juror and request the removal of any members they found unsuitable.
Trump jumping in on the attacks against the forewoman is remarkable in that he is now “directing his attack at the judiciary, a separate branch of government meant to remain impartial.”