Former Trump associate Roger Stone has filed a request for a new trial for the second time after it was discovered that the jury foreperson on the panel that found him guilty was likely biased against the president and his associates, the Washington Examiner reports.
The new controversy over the jury in Stone’s case is particularly egregious and raises serious questions about how such an individual was allowed to sit on the panel in the first place.
Tomeka Hart, a former Democratic congressional candidate who works for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, served as the foreperson on the jury hearing Stone’s case.
She was an unimportant figure until it was revealed that she had a very politically active social media presence.
Hart spoke out about her views on Stone’s trial on social media after the lead prosecutors in the case resigned following the bombshell reversal of an initial sentencing recommendation of seven-to-nine years for Stone.
Obviously, this sort of conduct was wholly inappropriate for a juror presiding over a politically sensitive case. It also provides Stone with a basis to argue that he should be granted a new trial.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson allowed Stone’s request to seek a new trial on Friday. Stone requested a new trial on another prior occasion, citing concerns about a different juror’s alleged bias, but he was denied, the Examiner noted.
Stone can thank Hart now, however, because her social media rants essentially handed him another opportunity to request a new trial.
Still, Stone is facing an uphill battle in his quest to get his new trial. The merits of the allegations that Stone lied to Congress and engaged in witness tampering have been settled, and he has been convicted.
Attention has now turned largely to the sentence Stone will receive. The initial recommended sentence of up to nine years was deemed by Justice Department officials to be excessive, and its issuance raised questions of political retribution at the hands of former members of Robert Mueller’s team.
These facts, together with Stone’s longstanding ties to the president, make the political bias of Tomeka Hart that much more relevant to Stone’s request for a new trial.
As it stands, legal observers suggest it is not terribly likely that a new trial will be granted, but there is at least a chance. As such, the Stone case will certainly be one to watch in the coming weeks.