A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday denied Roger Stone’s motion for a new trial due to the alleged misconduct and bias by jury foreperson Tomeka Hart.
Stone, a former advisor to President Donald Trump, had filed the motion a few days after being sentenced to 40 months in prison for obstructing Congress’ and the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 US elections and for witness tampering.
The motion was prompted by the public’s discovery of the jury foreperson’s identity and her old social media posts in which she expressed strong opinions towards Trump.
Stone contended in the motion that he is entitled to a new trial because this “newly discovered” information indicates that Hart lied about being biased against Trump and, by extension, against Stone during the jury selection process.
He also claimed that Hart had engaged in juror misconduct by reading and discussing news about the president and politics on social media during the trial and that she had lied during the jury selection process.
However, Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied Stone’s motion for a new trial, calling the motion “a tower of indignation [with] little of substance holding it up.”
She ruled that there was no juror misconduct since the Court did not prohibit the jurors from consuming and discussing the news in general and only prohibited jurors from reading news and publicity about the case.
She also ruled that Stone’s contention that Hart could not have considered the evidence brought against him fairly because of her views about Trump was unfounded since none of Hart’s social media posts revealed that she had an opinion about Stone himself.
The judge also noted that Stone’s lawyers could have discovered Hart’s social media posts during the jury selection process if they had done their due diligence.