Judge Unwilling to Delay Stone Sentencing Amid His Retrial Bid

Roger Stone, a longtime adviser of Donald Trump,  is about to enter a waiting vehicle after exiting the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse at 4:10 p.m. on Thursday Feb. 21, 2019 in Washington D.C. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson had just  banned Stone from speaking publicly about his case.  Stone is facing charges from Special Counsel Robert Mueller that he lied to Congress and engaged in witness tampering. (Photo by Jeff Malet)
Roger Stone, a longtime adviser of Donald Trump, is about to enter a waiting vehicle after exiting the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse at 4:10 p.m. on Thursday Feb. 21, 2019 in Washington D.C. U.S. District ... Roger Stone, a longtime adviser of Donald Trump, is about to enter a waiting vehicle after exiting the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse at 4:10 p.m. on Thursday Feb. 21, 2019 in Washington D.C. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson had just banned Stone from speaking publicly about his case. Stone is facing charges from Special Counsel Robert Mueller that he lied to Congress and engaged in witness tampering. (Photo by Jeff Malet) MORE LESS
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February 18, 2020 11:14 a.m.

A federal judge appeared unwilling to delay a sentencing hearing scheduled for Roger Stone later this week, amid an effort by Stone to secure a retrial in his case.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Tuesday at a teleconference hearing that it would not be “prudent” to further delay the sentencing hearing, but said she’d delay the execution of the sentence until after the retrial request was resolved.

“I am going to keep the sentencing where it is,” she said, as she denied a request by Stone’s lawyers to delay the sentencing. Lawyers for the Justice Department said their preference was to proceed to the sentencing hearing as scheduled. An order from the judge issued after the hearing also revealed that the Justice Department was opposing Stone’s bid for a new trial.

Tuesday’s hearing comes as the Stone case has emerged as a focal point for concerns of political interference at the Justice Department. Last week, the entire team of career prosecutors who had been leading the day-to-day of the case withdrew from it after their sentencing recommendation for Stone was clawed back and watered down by senior officials at the DOJ. The reversal in the recommendation came as Trump was publicly bashing the initial DOJ sentencing memo as too harsh, though the Department has denied that it was taking its cues from the President in scaling back its recommendation.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson scheduled Tuesday’s teleconference over the weekend, after Stone filed a request that she hold a new trial. The request was filed under seal, meaning that Stone’s reasons for requesting the trial aren’t officially known to the public. However the identity of a juror in his case caught the attention of conservative media outlets, and President Trump made several unsubstantiated claims on Twitter that the juror was biased.

Their complaints center on the juror’s involvement in Democratic politics, as she had previously run for Congress. Transcripts from the jury selection make clear that Stone’s lawyers were aware of her unsuccessful campaign and that they had the opportunity to question her about her political aspirations.

Earlier this month, Jackson rejected a previous effort by Stone to secure a mistrial, during which Stone raised a separate set of concerns about the jury.

Shortly after the hearing wrapped up, Jackson issued an order that noted that Stone had filed an amended motion for a new trial under seal Tuesday. According to her order, the government had also filed under seal its opposition to Stone’s request for a new trial, as well as another document. It is not clear when those filings will be made public. Her order confirmed that Stone was alleging juror misconduct in his effort to secure a new trial.

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