The forewoman of the jury that convicted President Donald Trump‘s longtime ally Roger Stone testified Tuesday at a listening to on no matter if a new trial should be granted in gentle of her social media posts that had been significant of Trump.
Tomeka Hart’s just about hourlong visual appearance in U.S. District Court docket in Washington, D.C., came soon immediately after Trump attacked her many instances on Twitter.
Stone’s legal professionals are arguing that Hart’s alleged “misconduct” tainted the trial of the Republican operative.
Hart testified that she did not read through information accounts or Twitter posts about the trial when she was serving on the scenario, and denied deleting any posts she experienced built on social media.
Stone’s legal professionals argued that Hart lied on her jury questionnaire when she reported she was not sure if she experienced ever posted nearly anything on social media about Stone. She experienced, in reality, retweeted an article that pointed out him soon immediately after his arrest.
“That was the truthful reply on Sept. 12. That’s why I did not check out sure or no,” Hart testified.
One particular of Stone’s legal professionals requested her about a tweet she wrote right before Stone’s arrest referring to the rapper Chuck D of the hip-hop group General public Enemy. The choose in the scenario, Amy Berman Jackson, cut off that line of questioning.
Jackson did not rule Tuesday on the ask for for a new trial. She did not say when she would situation her selection.
Earlier Tuesday, the choose barred the public from the courtroom for that listening to, declaring that tweets by Trump and many others may perhaps have elevated the possibility of harassment to jurors who could possibly be testifying there.
Eleven jurors came to the listening to, but only Hart and two other jurors had been named to testify in the courtroom, the place they had been watched by Stone.
Those two other jurors testified that Hart was truthful in the course of deliberations and inspired associates of the jury to look at all of the evidence. At one point, a juror reported, even immediately after most of the jury experienced resolved Stone was guilty on a specific legal rely, “it was the foreman that insisted that we examine problem 3, cost 3 a minor more.”
“It was the foreperson who insisted that that stage of awareness be paid out to that rely even however some of you had been presently completely ready to decide?” Jackson requested.
“Of course,” the juror answered.
When Jackson barred the press and other associates from the listening to home, she permitted reporters and many others to hear to the listening to on an audio feed somewhere else in the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse.
Jackson past 7 days sentenced Stone to forty months in prison for lying to Congress and witness tampering.
But she suspended imposing the sentence pending her selection on his ask for for a new trial.
Even as the listening to got underway, Trump once again tweeted about Hart, creating, “There has seldom been a juror so tainted as” her.
“Seem at her track record. She in no way disclosed her hatred of ‘Trump’ and Stone. She was fully biased, as is the choose. Roger was not even doing work on my marketing campaign. Miscarriage of justice. Unfortunate to look at.”
A Democrat who when ran for Congress out of Tennessee, Hart’s LinkedIn web site identifies her as a senior system officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Basis. She beforehand served as president and CEO of the Memphis Urban League, and on the Memphis, Tennessee, school board.
Stone’s legal professionals argue that Hart “misled the Court docket relating to her ability to be impartial and truthful and the juror tried to go over up evidence that would specifically contradict her phony promises of impartiality.”
During the listening to Tuesday immediately after the public remaining the courtroom, Stone’s lawyer Seth Ginsberg told Jackson that Hart’s answers to many questions on a jury questionnaire had been “at greatest deceptive.”
“It may perhaps be that she considered them to be truthful, but she concealed evidence relating to her sights that would have been essential for the court and the get-togethers to recognize her bias,” Ginsberg argued.
When pressed by Jackson, Ginsberg reported he considered her answers to be “deliberately” deceptive.
Ginsburg pointed to posts by Hart that shared significant stories about Trump and Stone, which he argued “indicate a bias” towards Stone.
In one publish, the foreperson shared an article about Stone, and herself wrote, “introduced to you by the lock her up peanut brigade.”
Ginsberg reported, “That indicates she did more than move it together for the reason that she thought it was a adorable headline.”
The failure of Stone’s legal professionals to discover Hart’s social media posts linked to Trump right before she was put on the jury with out objection by them has elevated eyebrows among Stone’s supporters.
The posts came to gentle only before this thirty day period when a conservative commentator tweeted about them immediately after Hart publicly discovered herself as the jury forewoman in a Facebook publish.
Stone’s other defense attorney, Robert Buschel, admitted Tuesday that no one on the defense team, which integrated jury range consultants, experienced performed a search on the net for the names of likely jurors when they turned known to each prosecutors and defense attorneys.
“I think it can be a common practice by trial legal professionals these times to Google men and women on the jury panel listing, would not you concur?” Jackson famous.
Earlier Tuesday afternoon, Jackson initial held a listening to on Stone’s movement to open the courtroom to the public for the second listening to on his ask for for a new trial.
Jackson cited Trump’s Feb. 13 tweet about Hart, in which he wrote that it appeared that the forewoman experienced “considerable bias. Insert that to almost everything else, and this is not searching good for the ‘Justice’ Department.”
The choose, right before ruling that the listening to in Stone’s scenario should be held in a sealed courtroom, albeit with a public audio feed, also referred to remarks by Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Alex Jones, the head of far-correct conspiracy web page Infowars.
Carlson “accused the foreperson of the jury of remaining an anti-Trump zealot,” Jackson famous.
The choose described a phase on Carlson’s display in which he slammed the juror as biased and broadcast her Twitter deal with, in accordance to NBC News.
These criticisms could possibly put jurors’ basic safety at possibility, Jackson reported.
“People today who are indignant about Mr. Stone’s conviction may perhaps opt for to take it out on them individually,” she reported, NBC documented.
“When judges may perhaps have volunteered for their positions, jurors are not volunteers,” Jackson reported.
“They are deserving of the public’s respect and they should have to have their privateness respected.”
On Monday, Jackson experienced turned down Stone’s movement that she disqualify herself from further more involvement in the scenario — which includes the problem of no matter if he should be granted a further trial.
Stone’s attorneys experienced argued that Jackson’s impartiality came into problem when she reported in the course of the sentencing listening to that the jurors in Stone’s scenario “served with integrity below hard situations.”
Her remarks, the defense legal professionals argued, display that the choose has prejudged no matter if Hart — whose anti-Trump social media posts had been learned immediately after Stone was convicted on seven legal counts — committed misconduct.
Stone was convicted past slide of lying to Congress about his contacts in the course of the 2016 presidential election with the Trump marketing campaign as he sought to get info about e-mail stolen by Russian agents from eventual Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s marketing campaign supervisor and the Democratic Nationwide Committee.
He also was convicted of attempting to tamper with a witness, comic Randy Credico, whom he pressured to endorse his lies.
Prosecutors at Stone’s trial reported that he kept Trump’s camp informed of what he experienced learned about WikiLeaks’ strategies for releasing the e-mail, which had been uncomfortable to Clinton and the DNC.
But Stone experienced told the Dwelling Intelligence Committee he experienced no these kinds of discussions with the Trump marketing campaign about WikiLeaks.
Trump in published answers in late 2018 to then-particular counsel Robert Mueller, reported, “I do not remember talking about WikiLeaks with” Stone, “nor do I remember Mr. Stone getting mentioned WikiLeaks with my marketing campaign.”