Can we assume from this commentary that Judge Nap is not in fact biased against TrumpWorld due to some unknown personal grudge and instead was calling ’em as he sees ’em during the Ukraine impeachment saga? I’ve always assumed that. I’m just curious what his detractors think.
Especially one very special detractor, who quoted Napolitano approvingly for the first time in ages in a series of tweets this morning:
I’m agnostic on whether Stone deserves a new trial because I don’t know enough about how the court goes about determining whether a juror’s bias is so disqualifying that it should warrant overturning the verdict. David French described the relevant analysis in a post last week, which I wrote about here. Showing that the juror was biased isn’t enough; the defense needs to show that she was deceptive during voir dire about bias. But even if they can show that, the court routinely relies on assurances from jurors that they can set aside any bias they might harbor. If the juror is hauled into court and asked to explain her old anti-Trump tweets and swears up and down that she set that bias aside in reaching a verdict, what does the judge do at that point? You can’t just take her word for it, but you also don’t want to undo a criminal conviction without very good reason. Presumably the court will have to make a judgment based on the tweets themselves: Are they so bad that no one who wrote them could conceivably set aside the bias they demonstrate?
The judge, Amy Berman Jackson, said today that she’ll sentence Stone as scheduled and then consider his motion for a new trial. Seems to me that only makes a new trial less likely. Why spend time deliberating on a sentence that might otherwise not need to be imposed, especially since the court’s sentencing decision may influence what Stone and the DOJ do in terms of a plea if in fact a new trial is ordered?
The quote from Judge Nap wasn’t the only case of Trump tweeting about the Stone case this morning. Remember how Bill Barr warned Trump during his ABC interview last week that tweeting about pending cases makes his job harder? POTUS doesn’t care:
Reporters asked him about that comment from Barr today and he readily agreed that his tweeting makes Barr’s job harder. But “everybody has the right to speak their mind. I use social media. I guess I use it well because here I am,” he added. “I probably would not have gotten here without social media, because I certainly don’t get fair press.” Ed Whelan, a tireless advocate for Trump’s judicial nominees, was aghast:
Worst client ever? This incontinent tweeting isn't going to help at all. Most likely effect is that Trump will very soon need a new AG. https://t.co/hkGWPc0zZl
— Ed Whelan (@EdWhelanEPPC) February 18, 2020
C’mon, Barr’s never gonna quit. Certainly not until the Durham probe is over and he can show his boss whether or not he delivered on the president’s quest for revenge against the Russiagate investigators.