Roger Stone to Appeal Criminal Conviction, Judge Denial of Retrial

Roger Stone to Appeal Criminal Conviction, Judge Denial of Retrial
Roger Stone, former adviser to President Donald Trump, departs the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in Washington on Nov. 15, 2019. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Janita Kan
Roger Stone filed a notice on April 30 to appeal his criminal conviction and a judge’s order denying his request for a new trial.

Stone, a longtime associate and former adviser to President Donald Trump, was sentenced on Feb. 20 to three years four months in prison.

He’s one of several associates of Trump who faced charges as a result of Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He was convicted in November 2019 on all seven counts he was charged with, including obstruction, witness tampering, and making false statements to Congress.
The charges (pdf) were related to allegations that Stone had made false statements to the House Intelligence Committee during its probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and that he attempted to persuade a witness to give false testimony and withhold pertinent information from investigators.
His lawyers filed a notice to appeal (pdf) all seven convictions and Stone’s motion for a new trial over concerns about a juror’s bias.
On April 16, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an appointee of President Barack Obama, rejected Stone’s claim that that the jury forewoman was biased against Trump and therefore couldn’t be impartial in deciding Stone’s guilt or innocence during the trial.
“The Court finds that the foreperson did not answer questions falsely on the questionnaire or during voir dire, she did not engage in misconduct during the trial, and the defendant did not use diligence to discover the information present in his motion,” Jackson wrote in her order (pdf).

She described Stone’s request for a new trial as “a tower of indignation, but at the end of the day, there is little of substance holding it up.” She gave Stone 14 days to file an appeal or report to serve his sentence at the institution designated by the Bureau of Prisons.

Stone’s retrial request comes after media reports that found that a woman who identified herself as the foreperson of the jury that convicted Stone had previously posted critical posts about Trump on social media and defended four prosecutors who withdrew from the case following the Justice Department’s decision to revise the sentencing recommendation.

Trump has been critical of the case against Stone and has voiced his discontent on social media. On April 30, the president wrote on Twitter raising concerns about whether Stone was treated fairly during the case.

“Does anybody really believe that Roger Stone, a man whose house was raided early in the morning by 29 gun toting FBI Agents (with Fake News @CNN closely in toe), was treated fairly. How about the jury forewoman with her unannounced hatred & bias. Same scammers as General Flynn!” Trump wrote.

Stone’s case garnered significant attention and controversy at the Justice Department (DOJ) after it announced revised sentencing recommendations for Stone. Prosecutors originally recommended 7 to 9 years in prison. The DOJ then later asked for “a sentence of incarceration far less than 87 to 108 months’ imprisonment” without offering a specific prison recommendation.

The department’s announcement to revise its sentencing recommendation came hours after Trump weighed in on Twitter about the 7-to-9-year recommendation. DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told media outlets that the department didn’t consult with the White House about Stone’s sentencing. She added that the decision to change the sentencing request was made before the president wrote on Twitter about it. Barr also maintained that the decision to revise the sentencing recommendation came before Trump’s Twitter post.
Isabel Van Brugen and Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.
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