The federal judge overseeing the case of President Donald Trump’s friend and ally Roger Stone, who last week was sentenced to more than three years in prison for lying to Congress and witness tampering, demolished Stone’s allegations of bias.
“Given the absence of any factual or legal support for the motion for disqualification, the pleading appears to be nothing more than an attempt to use the Court’s docket to disseminate a statement for public consumption that has the words ‘judge’ and ‘biased’ in it,” Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote Sunday in a scathing court order denying Stone’s request to remove her from the case.
Following Stone’s sentencing last week, his lawyers filed a motion attempting to get Jackson disqualified from any further proceedings involving Stone’s case, claiming she showed bias when she said the jurors in the case “served with integrity under difficult circumstances.”
In her order, however, Jackson wrote that it was a “very general comment.”
“Judges cannot be ‘biased’ and need not be disqualified if the views they express are based on what they learned while doing the job they were appointed to do,” she wrote.
“There is no rule and no case law that would justify the recusal of a judge for bias simply because he or she says something about an issue on the docket, on the record, at some point before a reply has been filed, or before a hearing — which may or may not be required in the Court’s discretion — has concluded,” Jackson continued. “If parties could move to disqualify every judge who furrows his brow at one side or the other before ruling, the entire court system would come to a standstill.”
Both Stone and Trump have attacked the judicial process and claimed that one juror was biased. Stone has asked for a new trial. Jackson has not yet weighed in on that request.
Stone’s 40-month sentence was far below prosecutors’ recommendation of seven to nine years. But after Trump tweeted that it was “a horrible and very unfair situation” for Stone, the Department of Justice reduced the sentencing recommendation. The entire team of DOJ prosecutors in Stone’s case then resigned in protest.
However, in sentencing to Stone to 40 months, Jackson said the recommendation of seven to nine years “would be greater than necessary.”
Last year, Stone attacked Jackson in a threatening Instagram post, in which a photo of her was placed next to a crosshairs symbol. He later removed the post and apologized.
“Please inform the Court that the photograph and comment today was improper and should not have been posted,” Stone wrote in a court filing. “I had no intention of disrespecting the Court and humbly apologize to the Court for the transgression.”