WASHINGTON — Roger Stone, President Donald Trump’s longtime ally, sought a new trial Friday, a day after the president accused one of the jurors of “significant bias.”
The motion for a new trial could delay Stone’s sentencing, scheduled for next week. His case has been at the center of a firestorm this week after the Justice Department backtracked on prosecutors’ request for a stiff prison sentence.
On Thursday, Trump attacked a woman who revealed on Facebook she had been the forewoman of the jury that convicted Stone last year.
“Now it looks like the fore person in the jury, in the Roger Stone case, had significant bias,” Trump tweeted. “Add that to everything else, and this is not looking good for the ‘Justice’ Department.”
That woman is Tomeka Hart, a former school board member in Memphis, Tennessee. On Facebook, Hart defended the prosecutors who handled Stone’s case and recommended he serve seven to nine years in prison.
“I want to stand up for Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed, Michael Marando, and Jonathan Kravis — the prosecutors on the Roger Stone trial,” Hart wrote. “It pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors. They acted with the utmost intelligence, integrity, and respect for our system of justice.”
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One by one, the prosecutors quit the case. One resigned from the Justice Department entirely.
Democrats accused the department’s leadership, including Attorney General William Barr, of meddling in a criminal case to serve the president’s political interests.
Barr pushed back, telling ABC News the president “has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.”
Stone’s motion for a new trial and the accompanying exhibits were filed under seal. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson gave federal prosecutors until Tuesday to submit a response to the motion.
Stone, 67, was found guilty in November of lying to Congress and obstructing the Russia investigation to protect Trump and his presidential campaign.
His convictions stem from his actions during the presidential campaign in 2016, when he sought to create back-channel communications with WikiLeaks to push for the release of stolen emails that were damaging to then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Stone repeatedly lied to the House Intelligence Committee about his efforts, falsely denying that he talked to the Trump campaign about them. He also urged a possible congressional witness to either lie or scuttle his testimony. At the time, the committee was investigating Russia’s election interference.
Federal prosecutors argued that Stone’s crimes and behavior warranted a sentence of seven to nine years in prison. Stone’s attorneys argued that guideline for first-time offenders convicted of these crimes is 15 to 21 months. They asked for probation.
Stone had previously asked for a new trial based on alleged bias of another juror, a tax attorney. Stone’s defense lawyers alleged that the juror was biased because he or she worked with Justice Department lawyers in prosecuting tax cases. The judge denied the motion.