Trump ally Roger Stone tried to get U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson Berman to recuse herself from his criminal case on Friday, claiming that she could not be trusted to be impartial because she mentioned the jurors had “served with integrity” in the trial.
The judge responded to Stone’s request by shredding his accusation into itty-bitty pieces.
Stone, who claims one of the jurors was biased and therefore he deserves a new trial, accused Berman Jackson of being biased herself when she made the comment about “integrity” during Stone’s sentencing hearing last week.
“Sure, the defense is free to say, ‘So what? Who cares?’ But I’ll say this: Congress cared,” she had said. “The United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia that prosecuted the case and is still prosecuting the case cared. The jurors who served with integrity under difficult circumstances cared. The American people cared. And I care.”
Here’s how Berman Jackson dismantled Stone’s argument on her alleged bias.
The Comment Wasn’t Directed At His Motion For A New Trial
Berman Jackson asserted that she had made a simple observation about the case and Stone’s flippant defense of his actions when she mentioned the jurors, not a judgment call about his claim that one of the jurors was biased.
“The Court’s very general comment that ‘jurors’ served with integrity – three words on the 88th page of the 96-page transcript of a two-and-a-half-hour hearing – did not purport to, and did not, address the motion,” she wrote.
She Didn’t Make The Comment Outside The Courtroom
The judge pointed out that the comment was not an “extrajudicial” statement. In fact, she hadn’t made any comment about the case at all outside the courtroom, and moreover, Stone’s lawyers aren’t even arguing that she did.
In order for Stone’s argument to hold up, Berman Jackson would’ve had to have discussed the case in a partial manner outside of the case proceedings. Stone’s claim of bias rests entirely on three words: “served with integrity” and nothing more, she noted.
As A Judge, She’s Allowed To Make Observations
Stone’s legal team is essentially trying to get Berman Jackson kicked out for daring to comment on a case based on the evidence laid out in front of her …which is exactly what judges are supposed to do.
“If parties could move to disqualify every judge who furrows his brow at one side
or the other before ruling, the entire court system would come to a standstill,” she wrote.
She’s Actually Been Pretty Accommodating To Him, All Things Considered
Besides, Berman Jackson argued, it would be laughable to accuse her of being biased against Stone, given how much leeway she’s given him in the case by allowing his team to remove nearly 60 potential jurors from the trial and the fact that she “repeatedly resolved bond issues in his favor,” even after he violated his gag order and blabbed about his case on social media.
Additionally, the judge noted that her prison sentence of three years and four months was far shorter than the seven to nine years the original prosecutors in Stone’s case had recommended before the Justice Department walked back the recommendation.
He’s Doing This As A Political Stunt
Finally, she called out Stone’s true motivation for his request: To push a certain narrative.
“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 a statement for public consumption that has the words ‘judge’ and ‘biased’ in it,” she wrote.
President Donald Trump began attacking Stone’s case less than two weeks ago by baselessly claiming the juror and Berman Jackson were deliberately working against his friend.
Stone has since followed suit by filing motions for a new trial on the basis that he was treated unfairly, even though Trump’s attacks against the juror has no basis in reality and, as Berman Jackson proved, neither does his claim about the judge.