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Judge rejects Roger Stone’s motion to step down from case for praising juror ‘integrity’

[Judge Jackson and Roger Stone]

Attorney Scott Pilutik wrestles with the news of the day, from a lawyerly perspective…

Roger Stone moved Judge Jackson to recuse herself from hearing his motion for a retrial (which motion is the reason he’s been remanded to prison). The basis for the recusal motion was nonsense — arguing that because the judge said at sentencing that the jurors served with “integrity,” she’s too biased to rule on Stone’s other motion arguing juror misconduct.

Judge Jackson responds that (a) her general statement about the jurors’ integrity doesn’t come close to addressing Stone’s motion alleging juror misconduct; and (b) a judge’s statements made from the bench while doing their job categorically can’t constitute a basis to recuse.

She concluded that the recusal motion was nothing more than an attempt by Stone to “use the Court’s docket to disseminate a statement for public consumption that has the words ‘judge’ and ‘biased’ in it.”

I’d take that further and suggest that at this point Stone won’t hesitate to file anything no matter how frivolous simply to pile up losses as evidence of bias. All this motion practice is entirely performative, for Trump’s sake, to give him the political cover to pardon Stone.

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That all said, Stone’s motion for juror misconduct isn’t 100 percent crazy (on which Judge Jackson will next be ruling), because the jury foreperson did have a noticeable social media record of making anti-Trump statements, and even a few statements critical of Roger Stone.

The likely problem with Stone’s motion is that the juror in question made her history somewhat clear during voir dire and Stone’s lawyers didn’t challenge. They probably should have. If your attorney knew or even should have known about a juror’s bias and didn’t challenge it at the time, your attorney waived your right to challenge it later. I don’t know enough about the juror’s supposed misconduct (likely based on a discrepancy on the voir dire form) because Stone filed his motion under seal. But given Stone’s history of shit-flinging, I’m tending to think it’s going to come up empty.

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