Certain things drive me crazy in the age of Trump. Trump’s tweets are one example. Although some of them are witty and devastating, others are as un-presidential as possible, his recent tweets about the Roger Stone trial are one example.
I cannot overstake my dislike for Roger Stone. A self-important political grifter, Stone has been a showboat gadfly in Republican circles since the Nixon administration. He has wreaked havoc wherever he has gone. He and his ex-wife Ann Stone founded Republicans for Choice, a pro-abort group, another reason for him to to be on my Bad Forever List. During the 2016 campaign he fastened himself like a barnacle to the Trump campaign as an unofficial adviser, and did his usual Roger Stone act of getting the maximum publicity for himself while doing bupkis for the campaign. Because of tweets that made him appear to have insider knowledge of Russian aid to the campaign, he became a target of the Mueller team. Since he had no actual knowledge of non-existent Russian collusion with the campaign, the Mueller Inquisition was not able to charge him with any substantive crimes about that. However, since Stone is a buffoon they were able to charge him with various process crimes, including lying, obstruction and witness intimidation. (The witness supposedly intimidated testified at trial that he didn’t take Stone’s threats seriously and it was just Roger Stone being Roger Stone.) Since the prosecution was brought in DC, the most Democrat community in this fair land of freedom, Stone was duly convicted. After the Federal prosecutors asked for a nine year sentence, largely based upon the phony witness intimidation charge, Trump tweeted up a storm attacking the Judge and the prosecutors. This was manifestly improper. A President intervening in a prosecution like this throws out any semblance of the neutral enforcement of the law. Bad Trump, bad. And, yet…
The four prosecutors who have since resigned may have lied to their DOJ superiors about the sentencing recommendations.
The nine year request was completely over the top in a process crimes prosecution. Stone is 67, so, as some commentators have noted, the prosecutors were basically asking for a life sentence.
This prosecution was clearly brought by the Mueller prosecutors to collect another trophy scalp, probably out of frustration that they could never find any evidence to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, the whole purpose of the investigation. Stone, by his antics, made himself a target, and I have little sympathy for him, but this whole “let’s go on a years long fishing expedition and content ourselves with frying up minnows” is not a way to conduct any prosecution worthy of the names competent and ethical.
After the four prosecutors resigned, the foreperson of the Stone jury, Tomeka Hart, went public with her support of the prosecutors. Now after a jury has done their job and been discharged, jurors can say what they please about the case, but apparently Ms. Hart is a Democrat activist and a bitter Trump critic:
Former Memphis City Schools Board President Tomeka Hart revealed Wednesday that she was the foreperson of the jury that convicted former Trump adviser Roger Stone on obstruction charges last year — and soon afterward, her history of Democratic activism and a string of her anti-Trump, left-wing social media posts came to light.
Hart even posted specifically about the Stone case before she voted to convict, as she retweeted an argument mocking those who considered Stone’s dramatic arrest in a predawn raid by a federal tactical team to be excessive force. She also suggested President Trump and his supporters are racist and praised the investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which ultimately led to Stone’s prosecution.
Go here to read the rest. In the Federal system judges do the voire dire of prospective jurors to determine if they have bias. I assume that Ms. Hart lied during this process. If she told the truth, both Judge Amy Berman Jackson and Stone’s defense team were grossly incompetent for allowing her to be on the jury. This guarantees a new trial for Stone, or a quick reversal of his conviction on appeal. I wonder if any of the other jurors were similarly obviously biased. This reflects poorly on the work of the defense attorneys for Stone, since Ms. Hart had a loud and proud social media presence as to her anti-Trump beliefs.
And so it goes in the Age of Trump. Trump acts like a bull in a mile long China shop, but we learn, as the bull charges through the shop, that the shop is engaging in shady practices. As I have noted before, Trump’s historical function is to reveal there is no wizard behind the curtain, and to shatter our illusions about the system that has been doing business in this country for a very long time. The DOJ under Obama, for example, clearly acted to protect his allies and punish his adversaries. Obama never tweeted about it of course, but the reality was clear. That reality was fine with the media and the bi-partisan establishment that views itself as the permanent, and rightful, governors of We the People. Between them and Trump, if I have to choose, and think I have to, I will choose Trump and his annoying, to me, Tweets any day.
Update: Hart did lie during jury selection. Go here to read about it.