A federal judge on Thursday denied a bid for a new trial by U.S. President Donald Trump's longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone after the veteran Republican operative accused the jury forewoman of being tainted by political bias.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected Stone's claim that the forewoman was biased against Trump and therefore could not be impartial in deciding Stone's guilt or innocence during the trial.
"(T)here is zero evidence of 'explicit bias' against Stone, and defendant’s attempts to gain a new trial based on implied or inferred bias fail," Jackson said in an 81-page decision.
Jackson sentenced Stone on Feb. 20 to three years and four months in prison after a 12-person jury convicted him on Nov. 15 on seven counts of obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lying to lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
The charges stemmed from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry that documented Moscow's meddling to boost Trump's candidacy and detailed numerous contacts between Trump associates and Russians.
Stone was convicted of lying to the House of Representative Intelligence Committee about his attempts to contact WikiLeaks, the website that released damaging emails about Hillary Clinton, Trump's 2016 Democratic election rival, that U.S. intelligence officials have concluded were stolen by Russian hackers.
With his motion for a new trial denied, Stone is expected to ask an appeals court to throw out his conviction. He has 14 days to do so.
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