WASHINGTON — The federal judge overseeing the criminal case against Roger J. Stone Jr. warned on Tuesday about attacks by President Trump and others on a juror in the trial, saying that fomenting public anger about the guilty verdict could prompt someone to “take it out on” members of the jury.
The comments by Judge Amy Jackson Berman of United States District Court in Washington came during a hearing on an argument by Mr. Stone’s lawyers that misconduct by a juror required a new trial.
Even as the hearing was proceeding, Mr. Trump weighed in again on the case, once more ignoring Attorney General William P. Barr’s explicit request this month that he stop commenting on the Justice Department’s criminal cases.
“There has rarely been a juror so tainted as the forewoman in the Roger Stone case,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Look at her background. She never revealed her hatred of ‘Trump’ and Stone. She was totally biased, as is the judge. Roger wasn’t even working on my campaign. Miscarriage of justice. Sad to watch!”
Judge Jackson agreed to hold an open hearing on the defense’s motion but set unusual restrictions, allowing the public and the news media only to listen to audio of the hearing from chambers outside the courtroom and insisting that no juror be identified by name.
“This is a highly publicized case, and in a highly polarized political climate in which the president himself has shone a spotlight on the jury through his Twitter platform,” she said. Should jurors’ identities become public, she said, “an individual who may be angry about Mr. Stone’s conviction or other developments on the news may choose to take it out on them personally.”
Judge Jackson ended the hearing without issuing any ruling, saying she would deliver her decision later.
The Stone case has turned into one of the most politically fraught prosecutions that the Justice Department handled in years. Mr. Stone was convicted in November on seven felony counts for obstructing a congressional investigation and sentenced last Thursday to 40 months in prison.
But the case has continued to create controversy, partly fanned by the president’s running critique of the prosecutors, the judge and the jury. Mr. Trump’s comments about the case on Tuesday came soon after he had lashed out at two liberal Supreme Court justices, saying they should recuse themselves from any case involving him.
Without naming Mr. Trump during Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Judge Jackson cited “entirely inappropriate” comments by partisan onlookers. She amplified her warning on Tuesday, saying, “I need to state this clearly, that any attempt to invade the privacy of the jury is completely antithetical to our entire system of justice.”
The case also exposed a rift between career prosecutors in the United States attorney’s office for the District of Columbia and their superiors at Justice Department headquarters. Four prosecutors withdrew from the case this month after Mr. Barr overruled their sentencing recommendation and insisted the department request a less severe prison term than the seven to nine years the prosecutors sought.
Tuesday’s four-hour hearing was itself highly unusual. Last-ditch attempts by defense teams to keep their defendants out of prison are typical, but their motions rarely receive so much judicial attention. Legal experts said that Judge Jackson is probably both anticipating Mr. Stone’s appeal of his conviction and striving to defend the integrity of the proceedings in the face of attacks by the president and his allies.
Three months after the jurors rendered their verdict, she summoned about a dozen of them back to the courthouse. Three of them, including the forewoman, were questioned on the stand, as was one of the prosecutors who withdrew from the case.
Defense lawyers claim that the forewoman failed to disclose important information during the jury selection process that would have prompted them to move to exclude her from the panel. Tomeka Hart, a program officer for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, identified herself as the forewoman in a Facebook post this month.
She voiced concerns in that post about Mr. Barr’s decision to overrule the prosecutors, saying: “It pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors. They acted with the utmost intelligence, integrity and respect for our system of justice.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Stone’s lawyers claimed that during jury selection, the forewoman concealed her level of knowledge about Mr. Stone and his relationship with the president, as well as animosity toward Mr. Trump. They said they only recently learned of her views by examining her posts on social media, even though they had hired consultants to help them identify potential jurors who could be biased.
But Judge Jackson repeatedly expressed doubts about their claim.
“Having an opinion about the president and some or even all his policies does not mean that she couldn’t fairly or impartially judge the evidence against Roger Stone,” she said. “It paints a picture she cares about immigration, she cares about racial justice, that voice comes through.”
Particularly after Ms. Hart’s identity became known, many of Mr. Trump’s allies scoured her social media accounts, pointing to posts they said were openly critical of the president. “The risk of harassment and intimidation of any jurors who may testify in the hearing later today is extremely high,” the judge said.
During jury selection, jurors answered questions orally and, in a special precaution intended to identify bias, filled out lengthy questionnaires.
Among other questions, they were asked whether they had any opinion about the president, whether that opinion would make it difficult for them to be fair and whether they had ever made comments for public consumption about the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Mr. Stone was one of six former Trump aides who were charged as a result of that investigation.
Last week, defense lawyers asked Judge Jackson to recuse herself from the case. They argued that her remarks during Thursday’s sentencing showed that she would not be impartial when she ruled on their claims about juror misconduct, citing her comment that the jurors “served with integrity under difficult circumstances.”
The judge rejected that motion on Sunday, saying she had been scrupulously fair. She said she resolved both important evidentiary questions and bond questions in Mr. Stone’s favor “even after he took to social media to intimidate the court” and violated her gag orders. After he was indicted, Mr. Stone posted a photograph of the judge with the image of cross hairs near her head — an action she said endangered her and other court personnel.
Interspersed with his criticism of the trial, Mr. Trump has hinted that he would consider a pardon for Mr. Stone. The president vowed to “let this process play out” after Mr. Stone’s sentencing on Thursday, but said he may intervene if he felt unsatisfied that Mr. Stone was treated fairly.
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