Sources say the interim U.S. attorney was reportedly ‘strong-armed’ into a hefty Roger Stone sentence recommendation; Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano weighs in.
The federal judge presiding over ex-Trump adviser Roger Stone’s case said Tuesday that she will move ahead with the sentencing of the GOP operative later this week as scheduled, rejecting requests from the defense for a delay over concerns of jury misconduct.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson indicated during a pre-sentence hearing on Tuesday that she planned to move forward with Stone’s sentencing, which is slated for Thursday.
During the 15-minute-long hearing on Tuesday, Jackson made no mention of the mass resignation of the Justice Department prosecutors from the Stone case, after senior leadership overruled their recommendation of a prison sentence from 87 to 108 months.
Jackson, though, said she would take into consideration Stone’s defense request for a new trial on a different court schedule, and would allow enough time for an expected appeal. She also suggested she may delay implementation of the sentence until after she decides whether to grant the motion for a new trial.
“I think that delaying the sentence would not be a prudent thing to do under all of the circumstances unless I’m required to do so,” she said.
Stone was convicted on seven counts of obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress on charges that stemmed from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Jackson’s decision comes after Stone’s defense made a second request for a new trial last Friday in the wake of revelations of possible political bias of a juror in his first case.
Former Memphis City Schools Board President Tomeka Hart said last week that she was the foreperson on the jury that convicted Stone, and revealed a history of Democratic activism after a string of her anti-Trump social media posts came to light.
Hart even posted specifically about the Stone case before she was selected to sit on the jury, as she retweeted an argument mocking those who considered Stone’s dramatic arrest in a predawn raid by a federal tactical team to be excessive force. She also suggested President Trump and his supporters are racist and praised the investigation conducted by Mueller, which ultimately led to Stone’s prosecution.
Meanwhile, it emerged that Jackson had denied a defense request to strike a potential juror who was an Obama-era press official with admitted anti-Trump views – and whose husband worked at the division of the Justice Department that handled the probe leading to Stone’s arrest. And another juror, Seth Cousins, donated to former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke and other progressive causes, federal election records reviewed by Fox News show.
Attorney General William Barr’s move to intervene in Stone’s sentencing led to the prosecution team quitting the case. Jonathan Kravis, resigned as an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington and Aaron Zelinsky filed a notice that he would leave his post as a special prosecutor in Washington but would remain as an assistant U.S. attorney in Baltimore. Prosecutor Adam Jed withdrew from the case and Michael Marando also announced he was off the case.
The mass withdrawal caused Democrats to accuse Trump of interfering in the process – by earlier tweeting about his displeasure with the Justice Department. Trump denied it.
Meanwhile, the Federal Judges Association, an independent national association of federal judges, called an emergency meeting Tuesday to tackle their mounting concerns about Trump and Barr’s intervention in cases involving Stone and other Trump associates.
Last week, Barr announced he had appointed a federal prosecutor to review the case of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Fox News’ Gregg Re and John Roberts contributed to this report.