President Trump can’t stop meddling in his old friend Roger Stone's trial — and he was at it again Tuesday at the very time when the judge was in court reading the president's previous meddling tweets aloud.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson found herself reading some recent Trump tweets, along with commentary from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, where they were accusing the jury and forewoman of bias — all of which the judge considers to be part of an intimidation campaign. Jackson was hearing testimony from the jurors after Stone’s lawyers requested a retrial because he thinks the jury was tainted. And Jackson was defending the importance of protecting the identity of jurors in a high-profile case like Stone’s.
The juror that Trump and Stone are primarily targeting is Tomeka Hart, a former school board member who ran as a Democrat in Tennessee’s 9th Congressional District. The court hasn’t identified her, but she herself said she was the jury forewoman in a Facebook post. Stone and Trump latched on to anti-Trump posts she’d made before the trial started back in November.
And when Tuesday’s hearing was underway, Trump was busy writing more tweets. “There has rarely been a juror so tainted as the forewoman in the Roger Stone Case,” Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “She never revealed her hatred of ‘Trump’ and Stone. She was totally biased, as is the judge.”
Making jurors’ identities public in this case Jackson said, “would put them at substantial risk of harm,” according to CNN. She argued that in a political climate as polarized as this one, it would put them at risk of harassment.
Trump and Stone have made several efforts to stoke skepticism about the trial. They've tried to discredit Stone’s verdict by arguing that a juror lied on a questionnaire, and they have even accused the judge of bias.
Stone was sentenced last week to three years and three months in prison for lying to Congress and obstructing the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. And Trump has hinted a pardon may be coming.
“Roger wasn't even working on my campaign. Miscarriage of justice. Sad to watch!” Trump added in his tweet. Stone was, in fact, working on Trump’s 2016 campaign. He remained an informal adviser after that and communicated with top Trump campaign officials in 2016 about the activities of WikiLeaks, according to witness testimony and phone records presented at Stone’s trial.
Cover: President Donald Trump speaks to reporters during the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act signing ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)