Trump complains of Roger Stone trial 'bias' after head juror speaks out




  • In Politics
  • 2020-02-13 16:26:27Z
  • By The Guardian
Trump complains of Roger Stone trial \
Trump complains of Roger Stone trial \'bias\' after head juror speaks out  

The Roger Stone case has been thrown into further discord after Donald Trump seized on the news that the jury foreperson in Stone's trial is a former Democratic candidate for Congress.

Trump complained on Twitter that Tomeka Hart, a former Memphis city schools board president who identified herself as the foreperson in a Facebook post on Wednesday, "had significant bias".

Related: Controversy rages over Trump interference in Roger Stone case - live updates

"Add that to everything else, and this is not looking good for the 'Justice' Department," Trump said.

The revelation comes as controversy rages in Washington over the resignation of four career prosecutors who had recommended Stone serve a seven-to-nine-year prison term and the apparent justice department acquiescence to Trump's appeals to reduce it.

Stone was convicted in November on seven counts of lying to Congress, witness- tampering and obstruction of justice over his involvement involving hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential election.

In her Facebook post, Hart, the lead juror in Stone's trial, said that after the resignations she "can't keep quiet any longer".

She wrote: "I have kept my silence for months. Initially, it was for my safety. Then, I decided to remain silent out of fear of politicizing the matter."

The post, and Hart's confirmation of authorship, was first reported in the Daily Memphian.

Hart, a program officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, wrote: "But I can't keep quiet any longer. I want to stand up for Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed, Michael Marando, and Jonathan Kravis - the prosecutors on the Roger Stone trial."

Previous social media posts of Hart's showed she mentioned Stone's dramatic arrest before being seated on the jury, and called the president and his supporters racist. The posts were immediately seized on by conservative media outlets such as Fox News and rightwing activists.

Lawyers have warned that the politicization of the Stone case, and the direct interference of the US attorney general, William Barr, in an individual sentencing decision by his department's own career professionals, amounts to a threat to the rule of law.

"This is a crisis of credibility," Sasha Samberg-Champion, a former federal appellate attorney now with Relman Colfax, told the Guardian. "Nobody knows whether decisions are being made based on the facts and the law, or whether they are based on a political whim."

Before Barr called for Stone's sentencing recommendations to be reduced, Trump posted a tweet that called the original sentencing proposal for Stone "horrible".

Trump later congratulated Barr on "taking charge of a case that was totally out of control".

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