Federal judge takes apparent swipe at Trump over Roger Stone tweets

U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell issued a statement this week that appears to have been intended as a swipe at Donald Trump over what Democrats have alleged are attempts by the president to interfere in the criminal prosecution of Roger Stone.

“The Judges of this Court base their sentencing decisions on careful consideration of the actual record in the case before them; the applicable sentencing guidelines and statutory factors; the submissions of the parties, the Probation Office and victims; and their own judgment and experience,” Howell said, according to Law & Crime. “Public criticism or pressure is not a factor.”

Criticism and “Crooked” Hillary

According to Law & Crime, Howell’s remarks came in the wake of a tweet the president posted on Tuesday questioning decisions made by Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the judge in Stone’s case who, like Howell, presides in the District of Columbia.

Trump’s tweet referenced Jackson’s conduct during the criminal trial of his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, as well as her decision to dismiss a lawsuit against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton relating to the Benghazi scandal.

While Jackson acknowledged that Manafort was held by himself during his trial, she said at his sentencing that it is “disingenuous” to claim that he was held in solitary confinement, according to TIME magazine.

The judge has most recently denied Roger Stone’s request for a new trial, Law & Crime reported. Stone had requested a retrial on the grounds that one of the jurors who convicted him was biased.

Bias and Benghazi

But perhaps it isn’t just the jury who was biased against Trump and his associates; Jackson herself has a history of being lenient with Democrats like Clinton. In May of 2017, the judge tossed out a lawsuit by family members of those killed in the attack on a U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

The case alleged negligent email security contributed to the deaths of multiple U.S. officials and servicemembers.

Jackson also dismissed the claim that Clinton had defamed the plaintiffs and defended the former secretary of State’s handling of the matter. “Secretary Clinton did not refer to plaintiffs as liars,” she noted at the time, according to The Hill. “Plaintiffs may find the candidate’s statements in her own defense to be ‘unpleasant or offensive,’ but Secretary Clinton did not portray plaintiffs as ‘odious, infamous, or ridiculous.’

“To the contrary,” Jackson concluded, “the statements portray plaintiffs as normal parents, grieving over the tragic loss of their loved ones.”

One of the plaintiffs was Patricia Smith, whose son died along with Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two others in the 2012 attack. Smith spoke at the 2016 Republican convention, where she told the audience: “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.”

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