Washington — President Trump said Thursday he won't intervene in the case of Roger Stone — at least not for the time being. Stone wasto three years and four months in prison for lying to Congress about his efforts to work with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign and threatening a witness to cover up what he did.
"I'm going to let the media know that I'm going to watch the process. I'm going to watch it very closely, and at some point I'll make a determination, but Roger Stone and everybody has to be treated fairly. And this has not been a fair process, OK?" Mr. Trump said at an event with former prisoners in Las Vegas.
He said he thinks Stone has a "very good chance of exoneration" and that he would "love to see it happen."
Stone, a longtime associate of the president, has asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is overseeing the case, for a new trial. Mr. Trump said Jackson should grant the request, claiming the foreperson on the jury in Stone's 2019 trial was "tainted" and politically biased. Jackson has not said when she would make a decision.
The foreperson, Tomeka Hart, came to the defense of federal prosecutors who from the case after the Justice Department overruled their sentencing recommendation last week.
"It pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors," she wrote in a Facebook post. "They acted with the utmost intelligence, integrity, and respect for our system of justice. For that, I wanted to speak up for them and ask you to join me in thanking them for their service."
Conservative media figures soon found other posts on Hart's profiles that were critical of the president. Mr. Trump on Thursday said Hart "was an anti-Trump person, totally."
"Now, I don't know if this is a fact, but she had a horrible social media account, the things she said on the account were unbelievable," Mr. Trump said. "She didn't reveal that when she was chosen. And she's, I guess from what I hear, a very strong woman, a very dominant person. So she can get people to do whatever she wants."
On Wednesday, Seth Cousins, another member of the jury, defended Hart as "perhaps the strongest advocate in the room for a rigorous process, for the rights of the defendant and for making sure that we took it seriously and looked at each charge."
At his event in Las Vegas, Mr. Trump said Stone was a "good person" and lamented his trial, conviction and sentence.
"What happened to him is unbelievable," Mr. Trump said. "They say he lied. But other people lie, too. Just to mention, Comey lied. McCabe lied. Lisa Page lied. Her lover, Strzok, Peter Strzok, lied. You don't know who these people are? Just trust me, they all lied."
The president has previously declined to say whether he'll pardon Stone, although he's voiced his displeasure with how Stone and other past Trump associates like former national security adviser Michael Flynn have been treated.
Before Mr. Trump addressed the Stone case, Senator Lindsey Graham gave a preemptive stamp of approval for a presidential pardon.
"Under our system of justice President Trump has all the legal authority in the world to review this case, in terms of commuting the sentence or pardoning Mr. Stone for the underlying offense," Graham tweeted.