Are Roger Stone's attacks on the judge just a desperate attempt to score a new trial?
Roger Stone appears on The Circus/Screenshot

Once again, Roger Stone's lawyers filed a demand that Judge Amy Berman Jackson recuse herself from his case. And once again, Jackson denied the attempt.


Stone's relationship with Berman Jackson has been fraught with melodrama that seems entirely of his own making.

In the very early days of the trial, Stone was put under a gag order to keep the case out of the news and ensure the jury could remain impartial. Stone not only broke the gag rule, but he also went on his own personal attack against the judge, posting a photo of the judge surrounded by the crosshairs of a gun.

He then demanded she recuse herself because she couldn't possibly rule impartially over a trial after he attacked her. It didn'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. That’s why President Trump couldn’t force United States District Judge Gonzalo Curiel off his case with his bigoted and boorish claims that Curiel’s ethnic background disqualified him from hearing the Trump University case," as The Atlantic explained last year.

Stone is trying to get rid of the judge again after his lawyers filed an appeal of the case based on a juror who had been discovered to be an anti-Trump Democrat. When Stone's lawyers were questioning the jury pool, they asked Tomeka Hart if her allegiance to the Democratic Party would interfere with her ability to deliver an impartial verdict. If they had a problem with Hart, they could have dismissed her as a juror during the voir dire process.

After the verdict, Stone's lawyers said that she shouldn't have been on the jury. It's unknown if they didn't drop Hart so that they would have another reason to claim the trial was somehow rigged or file an appeal. So, they've appealed for a new trial based on the jury not being impartial.

Now they're attacking the judge, saying that because she thanked the jurors for their service, she can't be impartial enough to decide whether the juror should be removed.

As anyone who has ever served on a jury can attest, the judge always thanks the jury at the end of the trial, acknowledging that it is an essential public service that helps uphold the judicial system of the United States. A simple google search of examples of judges thanking juries shows many thank the members for "attention, your dedication, and your hard work," along with "service and recognition of our commitment to the jury system."

Berman Jackson thanked the jurors by saying that they "served with integrity under difficult circumstances" and "cared."

To Stone, this was unacceptable.

Berman Jackson denied the demand for recusal over the juror issue.