Donald Trump’s longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone has been denied a new trial after a failed attempt to claim jury bias during a previous trial.
Amy Berman Jackson, a US District Court Judge in Washington DC, rejected Mr Stone’s claim that a jury forewoman with strong opinions on the US president had been biased against him.
Mr Stone’s bid for a new trial was described by Judge Jackson as “a tower of indignation, but at the end of the day, there is little of substance holding it up”.
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The confidant of Mr Trump had claimed that a forewoman’s bias against the president disqualified her decision in Mr Stone’s guilt or innocence, on the basis of social media posts presented by Mr Stone’s lawyer.
However, on Thursday, the judge ruled that there was “zero evidence of ‘explicit bias’ against Stone”, and that the forewoman did not lie about her opinions during an initial screening for bias, in contradiction to Mr Stone’s claims.
“The assumption underlying the motion — that one can infer from the juror’s opinions about the president that she could not fairly consider the evidence against the defendant — is not supported by any facts or data and it is contrary to controlling legal precedent,” said Judge Jackson.
Instead, the judge added that Mr Stone’s lawyers had not been “diligent” enough to do their own research at the beginning of the trial, when such information about her social media presence was “a few mouse clicks away”.
Mr Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison in November in the aftermath of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
The Trump advisor was convicted on seven counts of obstructing justice, including lying to Congress about his communications with WikiLeaks, the website that released damaging emails about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 US election campaign.
With his bid for a new trial denied, Mr Stone is expected to ask an appeals court to throw out his conviction.
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