Andrew Napolitano believes the sentencing of longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone reveals some calculated maneuvers by the federal judge.
The Fox News legal analyst reacted to the sentence handed down by Obama-appointed Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Thursday, giving Stone 40 months in prison and a $20,000 fine in what is being slammed as a political attack.
(Source: Fox News)
“She’s trying to make this bullet-proof from a pardon,” Napolitano speculated on Fox News’ “Outnumbered,” as he remarked on the judge handing down the lesser sentence than the prosecution’s original recommendation of a seven to nine-year prison term.
“She went along exactly with what the attorney general requested. ‘How could the government possibly object to this?'” he said, referring to William Barr’s intervention in the case after the prosecution’s recommendation was slammed by President Trump and others as excessive.
“She gave them exactly what they wanted and it’s half of the number that had outraged the president,” Napolitano noted.
Asked about the fact that Jackson handed down the sentence even amid rising speculation about a new trial, Napolitano said he believes the judge “wants to keep jurisdiction over the case.”
“If there were no longer proceedings before her, then she could not silence Stone,” he explained.
The president has said that Stone deserved a new trial and had been treated “very unfairly.” The longtime Trump ally was found guilty on all seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering back in November. The Justice Department overruled the prosecutors in the case and the president questioned the impartiality of the presiding judge.
Stone’s legal team has also requested a new trial in light of revelations that the jury foreman in his trial was former Tennessee Democrat congressional candidate Tomeka Hart, who had been posting negative remarks about Trump and had posted about Stone’s case before she had even voted to convict him.
Napolitano argued last week that Stone is “absolutely entitled” to a new trial in light of an “inherent bias” from the jury member.
“It is the duty of the judge to ensure that both the government and the defendant get a fair trial and if the judge discovers afterwards that there was a built-in inherent bias on the part of a member of a jury against the defendant, that is an automatic trigger for a new trial,” Napolitano explained on “Fox & Friends” last week.
Judge Nap on revelations of biased juror against Roger Stone: ‘Automatic trigger for a new trial’ https://t.co/eipwGqqvT0
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 13, 2020
Napolitano also blasted the judge’s orders to keep Stone silent during his Thursday appearance on “Outnumbered.”
“I can understand a judge silencing a defendant during the trial. You don’t want the defendant outside the courtroom speaking to the jury through the media, ” he said.
“But Stone was convicted in November. At that point, his First Amendment privileges and rights returned to him,” Napolitano continued. “There is no sound moral or legal basis to silence a defendant after conviction.”
The former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey also expressed his views in an opinion piece published by Fox News ahead of Stone’s sentencing.
“Stone continues to maintain his innocence — now more so knowing he was tried unfairly. And he is entitled to a new trial, no matter what his jury found,” he wrote.
“Why? Because it is better that a thousand guilty persons go free than one unfairly be punished,” he added. “Because in America we only punish those who were fairly convicted. Because politics and bias have no moral or lawful place in American criminal prosecutions.”
*Update: Late Thursday afternoon President Trump spoke to the press about the Roger Stone sentence and hinted, that at least for now, a pardon wouldn’t be forthcoming.
“I want the process to play out,” he said while addressing the biased juror and the call for a new trial. “I’d love to see Roger exonerated. And I’d love to see it happen.”
Watch below. Above comments around 1:54 mark:
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