DC Circuit Accepts Roger Stone’s Request to Drop Appeal of Conviction

August 19, 2020 Updated: August 19, 2020

A federal appeals court on Wednesday approved a request by Roger Stone, a former political adviser to President Donald Trump, to drop the appeal of his felony conviction.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (pdf) granted a motion to dismiss the appeal, ending a lengthy court battle that was brought against Stone as part of a probe into alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Stone was convicted and subsequently sentenced to three years four months in prison for the charges including obstruction, witness tampering, and making false statements to Congress. Trump commuted Stone’s sentence, including the fine and probation, last month, saying that the 67-year-old was “treated very unfairly.”

His lawyers filed the motion earlier this week asking the appeals court to end his bid to appeal his conviction, which he believes resulted from a “trial tainted by judicial bias, egregious and blatant juror bias and misconduct and prosecutorial misconduct.”

In a blog post, Stone explained that he was concerned that he would not be given a fair hearing before the D.C. Circuit, claiming that the court’s decisions were tainted by a political agenda.

“I have come to the firm conclusion based on their previous actions in my case to date and based on their recent actions in the [Michael] Flynn case, that it would be impossible for me to ever get a fair hearing from this appellate court for the vitally important, fundamental constitutional issues my case raises,” he wrote.

He also argued that even if he won his appeal, his case would return before the same trial judge, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, in which he had accused of being politically biased.

“I cannot take the risk of having to go before her again for a new trial, just to be denied, once again, any ability to pursue a full and robust defense against the meritless charges I have faced and to give her a second chance to ensure my conviction for crimes I did not commit and perhaps impose an even stiffer sentence,” Stone wrote.

Jackson twice denied Stone a new trial, even when his legal team presented evidence that the jury forewoman had made social media posts against Trump. She also found that the claim that the forewoman was tainted by political bias “is not supported by any facts or data and it is contrary to controlling legal precedent.”

Stone’s sentence drew intense public scrutiny after four Justice Department prosecutors resigned from the case after Attorney General William Barr withdrew their sentencing recommendation of 7 to 9 years in prison and instead left the sentencing decision to the judge. Jackson ultimately decided to give Stone a 40-month prison term.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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