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Op-Ed: Why I Decided To Withdraw The Appeal Of My Unjust Conviction In The Mueller Witch Hunt – by Roger Stone

Stone and Jackson
Political consultant Roger Stone (left), photo credit: Politico, Jose Luis Magana, AP – (right) U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who decided Stone would not get a new trial over allegations of misconduct by the foreperson in his jury. Photo credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – On the strong advice of my attorneys and after giving the decision considerable thought, I have reluctantly decided to dismiss the appeal of what I believe to be a wrongful conviction in a trial tainted by judicial bias, egregious and blatant juror bias and misconduct and prosecutorial misconduct. Therefore, I directed my attorneys to withdraw my appeal from the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.   

I Could Never Get a Fair Hearing Before this Court of Appeals, Given its Political Agenda

First, I have come to the firm conclusion based on their previous actions in my case to date and based on their recent actions in the Flynn case, that it would be impossible for me to ever get a fair hearing from this appellate court for the vitally important, fundamental constitutional issues my case raises.

Although I believe the gag order issued in my case was patently unconstitutional and the free speech issues filed in a Writ of Mandamus with the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, by one of the most prominent First Amendment lawyers in the country were fairly straightforward, the Court waited many weeks before granting the Government’s request for more time. During this time, while the Washington Post (the dominant newspaper in the jurisdiction from which the jury was selected) as well as CNN, MSNBC and others attacked me with falsehoods, I was prohibited from responding. Let there be no doubt the jury pool was seriously tainted and I sustained serious damage. The Appeals Court after an unreasonable delay, took no action but rather sent the decision back to Judge Berman Jackson, as if there was any possibility that she would vacate her own order.

I also base this conclusion on other recent developments. After I filed my appeal, I sought a simple sixty-day extension of time to report to prison based on the COVID-19 pandemic and the very real risk of death based on my age and health I faced at the facility to which I was designated to report. That risk was demonstrated by undisputed medical evidence and reports of a rapidly burgeoning COVID-19 positive population at the facility.  The Justice Department had a uniform policy of consenting to such extensions in every other case, and judges in DC and around the country had ordered such extensions routinely for every other defendant who had yet to report. Notwithstanding this undisputed, documented, imminent risk of death, the uniform DOJ policy applied to every other defendant, the government’s own statistics showing the rapid increase of COVID-19 positive tests at the facility, and recent decisions directly on point from other federal courts of appeal, as well as unequivocal evidence of deception and an outright lie by the prosecutors in my case in opposing my request after earlier agreeing to it, this Court of Appeals ignored the precedents in all circuits including DC.,the current DOJ/BOP policies, the facts regarding my health and the proven danger at the facility I was assigned to and denied the request, knowing it was very likely sending me to my death. This must be part of the special treatment the Democrats say I got.

That decision led the President to intervene, thankfully, and commute my sentence; but there is no way to know how many other defendants will be hurt if this lawless, politically motivated decision in my case is applied to anyone else. 

My conclusion about this Court of Appeals is also supported by recent actions taken by the court in other cases that demonstrate that the court has become completely politicized and that the rule of law has become secondary to a political agenda. In recent days, I have seen this court grant rehearing en banc in two cases involving officials associated with the Trump administration. Judges on the court felt the need to vacate their previous order to Judge Sullivan to dismiss the Flynn case and for the whole court to rehear decisions that panels of the court had made concerning the judge’s abuse of his power in General Flynn’s case as well as efforts by Congress to force former White House counsel McGann to testify. This is truly extraordinary. On the other hand, this same court just reversed a judge’s decision that Hillary Clinton must answer questions at a deposition about her very troubling conduct. I could not come to any conclusion from these exceptional events other than that this court at present is motivated more by a political agenda than by adherence to the rule of law or concern for fundamental constitutional rights and so I decided to withdraw my appeal from its consideration.

Winning My Appeal Would Mean a New Trial Before the Same Biased, Politically Driven Judge

Secondly, my lawyers have made it clear to me that while the judge at my trial made a number of rulings on fundamentally important issues that cannot be reconciled with my constitutionally protected fair trial rights, the absolute best case scenario that would result from winning my appeal would be to have the case sent back to this same judge who has proven over and over again in my case that she simply cannot and will not ever permit me to have a fair trial in her courtroom. She denied my lawyers’ motion to disqualify her from my case, notwithstanding her outrageous conduct from the first day I appeared before her through the last day and notwithstanding her blatantly political, anti-Trump diatribe at my sentencing that bore little relationship to reality. I cannot take the risk of having to go before her again for a new trial, just to be denied, once again, any ability to pursue a full and robust defense against the meritless charges I have faced and to give her a second chance to ensure my conviction for crimes I did not commit and perhaps impose an even stiffer sentence.

Consider just a few of the outrageous examples of what this judge did. First, as was widely reported and “somehow” was captured by a CNN news crew already on the scene, I was arrested at my home in a pre-dawn raid by dozens of agents, including commando units, who descended on our house by land and sea in a manner otherwise reserved only for the leader of an international drug cartel. This judge cut off all efforts at challenging this arrest or even at investigating who ordered it and why. he judge also would not let me determine who illegally leaked a draft of the sealed indictment before it was unsealed later in the day.

 Next as cited previously she entered the most Draconian gag order imaginable against my lawyers, my supporters, my family and me, prohibiting any of us at any time from in any way, shape, or form, in any forum whatsoever, from responding to inaccurate media reports regarding my case or the actions of ethically bankrupt Mueller team, its investigation, its agenda, or its methods.

Indeed, we were prohibited, and undoubtedly would be prohibited by her again, even after winning a new trial, from in any way challenging the Mueller team and its efforts to extort me and get me to falsely implicate the President in illegal conduct they knew never occurred.

Next, the trial judge granted the prosecution’s motion to prohibit me from raising in my defense misconduct by the Office of Special Counsel, the FBI, the DOJ or any Member of Congress in bringing the criminal case against me. This is unprecedented and contradicts a long line of precedent from the highest court in the land recognizing the sanctity in our criminal justice system of permitting a defendant in a criminal case from pursuing a theory of defense. The trial court’s ruling cannot be reconciled with the fundamental constitutional right in any criminal case to challenge the integrity of the investigation and the investigating team. The judge in my case simply ignored the many years of legal precedent on this point and would let no fundamental principle interfere with her decision to protect Mueller at all costs and to deny me a fair trial. Were such a ruling in place in the Flynn trial we would not now know of the withholding of exculpatory evidence from Flynn’s Lawyer and documentation from the FBI which prove they knew Flynn violated no law and was politically targeted.

The trial judge’s commitment to deny me a fair trial and her political motivation were perhaps best on display with her astonishing political diatribe at my sentencing and with her reckless handling of the outrageous juror misconduct that only came to light after my trial, when we first learned that the jury foreperson had been attacking me by name on both Twitter and Facebook starting with my arrest and subsequently as well as attacking the President in 2019. These social media posts were on a private setting during jury selection and during the trial and were deleted-actually the pages were shut down- after the trial. A request by my attorneys to subpoena this deleted material from the social media companies was denied by Judge Jackson.

Indeed, where most federal judges would be outraged to learn that a juror had engaged in the kind of conduct she engaged in and then sought out public attention for, and would demand answers from the juror and impose consequences, the judge in my case reserved her ire exclusively for my lawyers and me for even daring to raise the issue and dismissed it all out of hand, ignoring her intended role as a neutral arbiter, charged with ensuring the integrity of the criminal process in her courtroom. Despite the US Supreme Court’s decision that all defendants are entitled to an “impartial and indifferent” jury Judge Jackson ruled that the Jury forewoman’s conduct did not constitute bias and denied me a new trial.

At sentencing, the judge announced that it did not at all matter that there was no evidence in my case about Russia or Russian “collusion” – the issue most Americans understand the Mueller Team’s mandate to be focused on.  Rather, she declared, I was prosecuted for seeking access to Hillary Clinton’s emails. If that were the case, then what was Mueller doing prosecuting the case? His law firm represented Hillary Clinton and the lead prosecutor in my case was Hillary Clinton’s personal lawyer in that very case. That clear conflict of interests was ignored by the Judge. Judge Jackson also said “there was nothing phony about the (Mueller) investigation,” something we now know from declassified documents to be untrue, but reflected the Judge’s personal political bias.

Next, she announced that I was convicted of “covering up for President Trump.” This was not among the charges nor what I was convicted of. There was no such evidence to support such a conclusion. The judge went one step further and announced that because of my conduct, Congressman Nunes’s Committee had been thwarted in its Russian “collusion” investigation. But immediately after the sentencing, Congressman Nunes announced through his spokesman that there was not one iota of truth to what the judge said in this regard. He made clear that nothing I testified to before his Committee was at all material to or in any way impacted his Committee’s work. 

How, then, one might ask, could I ever even have been prosecuted for supposedly lying to that Committee when the charge against me required as a necessary element, whether any statement at issue was material and any misstatement required intent. My lawyers and I have asked that same question from the day the charges were brought through today and there is no legitimate answer.

I Could Not Justify Spending Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Pursuing a Futile Appeal

Given the risk and the chances to prevail in a politically corrupted system I could not justify having to raise the hundreds of thousands more to pursue the appeal, given that I would never get a fair appellate hearing and that even if I were to win the appeal, the best-case scenario would be a repeat of a trial marked by the complete denial of my constitutional rights. All in front of a judge who has invested herself in my conviction in order to try to send a political message that supports her anti-Trump agenda, and who would perhaps impose an even more outrageous sentence on me the next time around if she were able to secure my conviction with the same tactics used in my first trial.

It is time for me to move on with my life with my family, friends, and supporters. I regret not going forward with the appeal to fully expose all that happened, with the hope that by doing so, I could help prevent it from happening to anyone else ever again; but I had to decide based on what is best for me and my family. My attorneys have convinced me that the odds of victory were slim and the risk of being subjected to both an unfair appeal and perhaps an unfair second trial before the same Judge was just too great a risk.

The threshold premises behind appealing the unjust result of an unjust judicial process are 1) that the injustice was anomalous and 2) the unjust result can be ameliorated if the process can be repeated, in a 2nd chance, with the unjust elements removed or otherwise remediated, before the same tribunal. What an appeal does not and cannot remedy is an unjust result that is the product of intrinsic partisan bias and corrupt judicial bias uniquely directed at a particular defendant based on their identity, for whatever reason, unless the remedy involves a new judge in a different venue. If this does not occur, (and it very rarely does), and the defendant must simply go through the same process with the same intrinsic biases before the same distempered judge, then even the most meritorious appeal is not only an exercise in futility but also a highly-risky gambit for which the only sure thing is that I would face the same jeopardy and costs, but with the essential problems unmitigated.

The political taint that exists in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, from the prosecutors to the judge to the jury pool, is so deep and abiding that the possibility of achieving a just result on the merits is as nonexistent as it was when this process played out the first time.

I am eternally grateful that the President saw the injustices in my case, and given my age and health, commuted my sentence, literally to save my life.  He never should have been put in the position of having to do so, but he was, because of the decisions by the trial judge and the Court of Appeals. Allegations by Hillary Clinton, Rep. Jerry Nadler, Rep. Adam Schiff and Rep. Eric Swallwell that I “traded my silence regarding misconduct by the President for Presidential clemency” in my case is categorically false. Mueller’s dirty cops had $30M and three years to prove this false narrative and could find no evidence to support it at all while they did seek my co-operation to bear false witness against the President, an offer I declined.

Therefore, the rational choice, most protective of [my] rights and the welfare of my family, is to no longer subject myself to the dispositive authority of this court, even if that means forfeiting my right and desire to demonstrate the outrageous politically-motivated treatment and prosecutorial misconduct that suffused my case and my trial, making them a matter of permanent record, regardless of the outcome of an appeal.

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