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Law & the Courts

Trump Accuses Roger Stone Lead Juror of Harboring ‘Significant Bias’

Roger Stone speaks after his appearance at Federal Court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., January 25, 2019. (Joe Skipper/Reuters)

President Trump on Thursday accused the lead juror in the case against his longtime associate Roger Stone of “significant bias,” just as Democrats are casting the president’s comments on the Stone case as an attempt to influence the Justice Department and constitute an obstruction of justice.

“Now it looks like the fore person in the jury, in the Roger Stone case, had significant bias. Add that to everything else, and this is not looking good for the ‘Justice’ Department,” Trump wrote in a tweet.

The juror in question, Tomeka Hart, posted Wednesday on Facebook that she “can’t keep quiet any longer” about the Justice Department’s criticism of the seven-to-nine years sentence prosecutors recommended for Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the House’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia.

After Trump complained Tuesday on Twitter that Stone’s recommended sentence was a “horrible and very unfair situation,” the Justice Department submitted a revised filing stating that the prosecutors’ recommended lengthy sentence “could be considered excessive and unwarranted.”

“It pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors,” Hart wrote in her post, in which she identifies herself as foreperson of the jury. “They acted with the utmost intelligence, integrity, and respect for our system of justice.”

Hart is a former Democratic congressional candidate, a fact she disclosed during the public pretrial jury selection process. The former Memphis City Schools board president ran in the 2012 Democratic primary in Tennessee’s 9th district, losing by a wide margin to incumbent Democratic Representative Steve Cohen.

Hart’s social media accounts are also filled with negative commentary about Trump, including a tweet that refers to Trump as “#KlanPresident,” an apparent reference to the Ku Klux Klan. She also shared a Washington Post opinion piece titled, “What’s so extremely, uniquely wrong about Trump’s presidency” and shared praise for the Mueller investigation, which eventually resulted in Stone’s arrest.

Senator Lindsey Graham on Thursday weighed in the reports of Hart’s potential bias, urging the court to take the allegations seriously.

“If media reports are accurate – about juror bias in the Roger Stone case – I hope the Court will take such allegations seriously,” Graham wrote in a tweet.

Stone was convicted by the jury in November, and his sentencing is scheduled for February 20.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi called trump’s commentary on Stone’s case a “abuse of power” in her Thursday press conference and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) said Wednesday that attorney general William Barr should “resign or face impeachment” over his alleged intervention in the sentencing.

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