Judge denies Roger Stone's request for new trial

A federal judge denied Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneMatt Gaetz, Roger Stone back far-right activist Laura Loomer in congressional bid Barr: The left 'believes in tearing down the system' New HBO documentary lets Gaetz, Massie, Buck offer their take on how to 'drain the swamp' MORE's request for a new trial, a court filing unsealed on Wednesday revealed.

Stone, a longtime associate of President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE, had sought a new trial after being convicted in November of lying to Congress and witness tampering, based on the judge’s refusal to strike a juror.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee who is presiding over the trial, denied Stone's request last week. In her order, which was unsealed today, Jackson said it had not been necessary to strike the juror for alleged bias, and added that Stone’s defense team provided no reason to believe there had been “a serious miscarriage of justice.”

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The new development comes a day after all four prosecutors handling Stone’s case quit after the Department of Justice (DOJ) asked Jackson to reduce the seven-to-nine-year prison sentence the lawyers had initially recommended.

The move immediately sparked questions about potential White House interference at the agency, which only grew louder Wednesday after Trump congratulated his attorney general for intervening in the case.

“Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.

Trump had called the initial sentencing recommendation "very unfair" to Stone. After the DOJ reversal, Trump denied that he had instructed officials to change the sentencing recommendation. 

“I'd be able to do it if I wanted. I have the absolute right to do it," Trump told reporters. But he added, "I stay out of things.”

Trump's criticism and the DOJ's reversal were condemned by Democrats, with Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerLawmakers push Trump to restore full funding for National Guards responding to pandemic Bipartisan senators ask congressional leadership to extend census deadline Lawmakers of color urge Democratic leadership to protect underserved communities in coronavirus talks MORE (D-N.Y.) calling on the DOJ inspector general to investigate the sentencing decision.

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The House Judiciary Committee announced on Wednesday that Barr would testify before the panel on March 31.

A number of GOP senators on Wednesday also said Trump should not weigh in on pending sentences.

Stone is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 20 by Jackson.

--Updated at 3:36 p.m.