Trump Continues To Interfere In Stone Case With Tweets About Judge

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 16: Roger Stone former adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, departs the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Court House July 16, 2019 in Washington, DC. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman J... WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 16: Roger Stone former adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, departs the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Court House July 16, 2019 in Washington, DC. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson barred Stone from using Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to comply with the gag order previously issued in his pending court case. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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February 18, 2020 10:56 a.m.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday took the extraordinary step, once again, of injecting himself into the criminal case of his friend and confidante Roger Stone.

In a series of tweets Tuesday morning just hours before a telephone conference in Stone’s case, Trump roughly quoted the Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano, who said on “Fox & Friends” this morning that “I think almost any judge in the country would order a new trial.”

Napolitano added: “I’m not so sure about Judge [Amy Berman] Jackson, I don’t know.”

Tuesday’s tweet followed another from Trump last week, when he tweeted about Jackson’s handling of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s case. Trump also attacked the jury foreperson herself.

Trump and Napolitano’s latest attempt to discredit Judge Jackson ignores a standard step in criminal trials: Vetting jurors. The foreperson in Stone’s jury, his allies have pointed out, is a former Democratic congressional candidate with anti-Trump social media posts.

But Stone’s own attorneys had a chance to vet his jurors at the start of his trial, well before they found him guilty of all seven counts against him, including lying to Congress and witness tampering. The foreperson disclosed her former candidacy and political affiliations.

Stone requested a new trial on Friday but that request is not expected to come up in the telephone conference for his case Tuesday. Last week the Trump confidante’s case was rocked by an unusual intervention by Attorney General Bill Barr that thousands of former Justice Department officials have decried as improper.

After the career prosecutors who’d worked on Stone’s case recommended a 7–9 year prison sentence in a court filing — and after a furious tweet from the President about the recommendation — Barr instructed DOJ officials to file a new, watered down sentencing recommendation, prompting the career prosecutors to withdraw from the case. One of them resigned from the Justice Department altogether.

Trump’s tweets skipped over a notable bit in Napolitano’s remarks about the case: The Fox News analysts suggested Judge Jackson should let Stone’s lawyers “interrogate” the jury foreperson and the four prosecutors who withdrew from his case.

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