U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who sentenced Roger Stone to 40 months in prison, dismissed his demand that she be taken off the case as a baseless smear, the Washington Post reports. “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,” Jackson said. Stone’s motion asked to disqualify Jackson for referring during the sentencing to “the jurors who served with integrity under difficult circumstances.” Stone is challenging one juror as biased.
Jackson made her remark last week during an impassioned rebuke of the arguments Stone’s legal team offered. She said Stone and his lawyers minimized the significance of his effort to frustrate congressional investigators as they sought to understand Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, a grave national security challenge. “Sure, the defense is free to say: So what? Who cares?” Jackson said. “But, I’ll say this: Congress cared. The United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia that prosecuted the case and is still prosecuting the case cared. The jurors who served with integrity under difficult circumstances cared. The American people cared. And I care.” Still, Stone’s motion will likely reach the receptive ears of President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly amplified criticism of Jackson and repeated false claims about the charges against Stone. Trump’s allies are agitating for the president to issue a pardon or commute Stone’s sentence. Trump is widely expected to do so, but the timing is uncertain.