Another dubious and messy prosecution, courtesy of former special counsel Robert Mueller and his band of overzealous investigators, is winding its painful way toward a conclusion. Following a Feb. 18 phone conference with Roger Stone’s attorneys, Judge Amy Berman Jackson has confirmed that she will move ahead with Stone’s sentencing, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 20. As with the prosecution of Gen. Michael Flynn, the Stone case reeks of political conflict and entirely unequal application of the law.
As many Americans are still scratching their heads, wondering how former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe avoided prosecution on multiple counts of “lacking candor” with federal investigators, Stone has been relentlessly hounded for lying to Congress and supposed witness tampering. Flynn has likewise been harassed for allegedly lying to federal agents: allegedly because, even though he was convicted, the agents in question are on record as having concluded that the former national security advisor did not deliberately mislead them.
As for Stone, his defense team has requested a new trial, citing alleged misconduct on the part of jury foreperson Tomeka Hart. Described in an article from The Hill as a “Democratic activist and critic of the Trump administration,” Hart has frequently used Twitter as a forum for airing her extreme animus toward the president and his associates – of whom Stone is one. In a tweet from August 2019, Hart referred to Trump as “#KlanPresident.”
Even a cursory examination of Hart’s highly political Twitter feed reveals a deep loathing of the president and of Republicans and conservatives in general, which makes her former position as foreperson of the Stone jury a travesty.
The prosecution has objected to the request for a new trial, and the judge has signaled that she intends to go ahead with Stone’s sentencing but will delay imposing whatever sentence he receives until the matter of a potential new trial is resolved. “We’ve already put the sentencing off once,” she told Stone’s attorneys, according to CNBC. Jackson explained that proceeding with sentencing made sense “since there is no harm that would flow to the defendant.”
As Liberty Nation’s legal affairs editor Scott D. Cosenza says: “These are government workers – they are keeping a schedule. This is a big case, but there are plenty more.”
1,000 Angry Men (and Women)
In another recent twist, more than 1,000 former Department of Justice (DOJ) officials signed a letter calling on Attorney General William Barr to resign after the DOJ stepped in to recommend a sentence for Stone that was less than the seven to nine years recommended by prosecutors.
Apart from the fact that the DOJ intervention was by no means unprecedented, several right-leaning media outlets have discovered that almost all the signatories to the letter have a history of left-wing sympathies: a number of them are Democrat donors, and many have ties to the Clintons and the Obama administration. Many have appeared as contributors or regular guests on left-leaning news networks. Noting the media attention being given to the letter, the Media Research Center says: “[T]he broadcasts conveniently left out the fact that several of the ex-DOJ employees who signed on to the letter currently serve as professional anti-Trump pundits on CNN and MSNBC.”
The New York-based Union Journal reports that all but two of these former DOJ officials had previously signed a letter petitioning former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel to investigate the now-discredited Trump-Russia conspiracy theory.
Stone’s trial and prosecution, then, were dripping with political bias. It is doubtful, at this point, that a new trial could be any less tainted. Barr is often accused of acting out of personal loyalty to Trump, but, in fact – as numerous media articles have pointed out – DOJ staffers donate overwhelmingly to Democratic Party candidates. The DOJ is hopelessly politicized, as Americans discovered when former Attorney General Eric Holder described himself as President Obama’s “wingman.” Barr should focus on ensuring that political bias does not taint the justice system; if he is unable to do so, then perhaps he should resign.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.