Trump ally Roger Stone on Monday publicly attacked the judge who is overseeing his case, which forced his lawyers to quickly rush out a formal apology for their client’s actions.
Ken White, a former federal prosecutor who now works as a defense attorney, has written an analysis of Stone’s actions for The Atlantic that expresses total incredulity that Stone would actually attack Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who has the power to put Stone in jail for years if he’s found guilty of committing perjury, obstructing justice, and tampering with witnesses.
“None of this is normal, not even in 2019,” White writes. “Federal criminal defendants are not, as a rule, famed for self-control. But Stone’s attack on the judge presiding over his case is reckless even by his standards.”
White then tries to speculate about what, if any, Stone’s strategy might have been in attacking the judge — and he still couldn’t find any rationale that made any kind of legal sense.
“Some have speculated that Stone, always fumbling for an angle, may have wanted to force Jackson to withdraw from the case,” he writes. “That won’t work. Federal courts have long held that a party can’t insult or antagonize a judge and then demand her recusal on the theory that the insults have biased her.”
Although Jackson has so far reacted with restraint to Stone’s insults, concludes White, that doesn’t mean she couldn’t take some kind of revenge on the Trump ally at a later date.
“Jackson won’t forget what happened, though, and one day she could be tasked with sentencing Stone,” he writes. “Never gratuitously annoy the person who is deciding how long you’ll spend in federal prison. I shouldn’t have to tell people these things, but here we are.”