Longtime Trump friend Roger Stone denied new trial

Judge rules that defense failed to prove jury forewoman made false statements.

April 16, 2020, 7:05 PM

Roger Stone will not get a new trial, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. ruled Thursday, months after the longtime GOP operative’s sentencing to more than three years in prison on Feb. 20.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who denied the veteran GOP political operative’s bid for a new trial based on alleged juror misconduct, wrote in her decision that "the conviction is final."

Stone failed to “[supply] any reason to believe that there has been ‘a serious miscarriage of justice,” she wrote.

“The defendant has not shown that the juror lied; nor has he shown that the supposedly disqualifying evidence could not have been found through the exercise of due diligence at the time the jury was selected," Jackson said.

With regard to Stone's argument that the juror was biased because of comments made on social media, Berman said, "To the extent one could consider any of the social media posts to be inconsistent with the juror’s questionnaire, they do not warrant a new trial because they do not meet the legal test for something that has been 'newly discovered.'”

"Obviously we are very disappointed in the ruling we have no further statement at this time," Stone attorney Grant Smith told ABC News on Thursday.

Stone’s bid for a new trial came just days before Judge Jackson sentenced him to 40 months in prison amid speculation about a possible pardon from Stone's longtime friend, President Donald Trump.

PHOTO: Roger Stone, former adviser to President Donald Trump, leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Court House, May 30, 2019, in Washington.
Roger Stone, former adviser to President Donald Trump, leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Court House, May 30, 2019, in Washington.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, FILE

Judge Jackson convened a hearing the following week to consider a sealed motion for a new trial filed by Stone’s defense counsel days before sentencing. As afternoon turned into evening, Jackson called jurors from Stone’s trial to the stand to face questioning – including the foreperson, whom Stone’s lawyers and Trump have accused of being biased.

Specifically, Trump has claimed the jury was "totally tainted" and has called the jury forewoman "anti-Trump."

During the hearing on the new trial motion in late February, Judge Jackson expressed concern for the safety of a juror from Stone’s trial after Trump repeatedly accused her of being biased.

“The president of the United States used his Twitter platform to disseminate a particular point of view about a juror,” Jackson said during the hearing. “Any attempt to invade the privacy of the jurors or to harass or intimidate them is completely antithetical to our system of justice. They deserve our protection. They deserve to have their privacy protected.”

Meanwhile, Trump, while returning from his visit to India aboard Air Force One that week dug in on criticism of the judge and the jury foreperson, calling her “totally biased, as is the judge.”

In November, Stone, 67, was convicted of misleading congressional investigators on several key elements of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including communications he had with the Trump campaign about the WikiLeaks dissemination of damaging documents stolen from Democrats.

According to the terms of Stone's sentencing, he is to voluntarily turn himself in to authorities to begin his prison term no sooner than two weeks after Thursday's ruling on his bid for a new trial, as is customary.

The location of the prison will be determined by the Bureau of Prisons, but at sentencing, Jackson recommended Stone serve his sentence as close as possible to his family in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.