Jury selection in the trial of President Trumpslongtime friend and confidantRoger Stone began on Tuesday and included medical issues involving both the defendant and a spectator.
Stone was sent home after telling U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson he was sick with food poisoning. Shortly before that,a man collapsed in the courtroom andwas attendedby Stones daughter, a trauma nurse, before he was wheeled away on a stretcher.
The extraordinary spectacle seemed to be in keeping with the style ofthe conservative provocateur, who is facing federal charges of witness tampering and obstruction of a congressional inquiry. Prosecutors say Stone lied to Congress about his interactions with WikiLeaks, which published stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clintons presidential campaign in 2016.
Jackson spent the early part of the sessionfending off attempts by Stones lawyersto exclude any potential jurors who worked in the U.S. government or had a negative view of Trump. Jackson pointed out that excluding all government workers may be impossible given the nature of the District of Columbia jury pool and rejected the notion that a juror opposed to Trump would be unfair to Stone.
ROGER STONE HEADS TO TRIAL IN MUELLER OFFSHOOT CASE, AFTER MONTHS OF OPEN CONFLICT WITH JUDGE
The defense has assumed bias that has not been shown on the part of those people, she said.
Sure enough, the first potential juror was a woman who had worked in the Office of Management and Budget in the Obama White House and whose husband is a lawyer in the Department of Justice.
Just after lunch, Stone told JacksonI have, apparently, some food poisoning.
I dont want to waste the courts time or the time of the jurors, he said.
Jackson reminded Stone that he has an absolute constitutional right to be present for all parts of his trial, including jury selection, but assured him that he will be represented by his attorney in his absence.
I hope you get the rest and attention you need and that you are feeling better tomorrow, Jackson said as she allowed Stone to leave the courtroom with a Gatorade bottle, and his wife and daughter at his side.
Opening statements in the case-- which is anoffshoot of former Special Counsel Robert Muellers nearly two-year-long investigation into possible collusion between Trumps presidential campaign and Russia to interfere in the 2016 elections-- are expected to begin on Wednesday but could be delayed if Stone is unable to appear in court due to his illness,Fox News has learned.
Stone, whobriefly worked on Trumps campaign before he was ousted due toinfighting with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, has done little to tamp down his theatrics ahead of the highly anticipated trial.
Following hisJanuary arrest in a dramatic nighttime raid bya heavily armed federal tactical team, he drew the ire of Jacksons when he posted a photo to Instagram that appeared to show the judgewithgun crosshairsbehind her.
Through legal trickery, Deep State hitman Robert Mueller has guaranteed that my upcoming show trial is before Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointed Judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges against Hillary Clinton and incarcerated Paul Manafort prior to his conviction for any crime, Stones post was captioned.
Jackson subsequently issued a gag-order banning Stone from using social media. Stone has repeatedly violated that order, in once instancecalling Special Counsel Robert Mueller crooked and allegedly calling for ex-CIA Director John Brennan to be summarilyexecuted.
Stone has also remained active socially,holding an event on Saturday in Miami where he sold t-shirts and books to raise money for legal fees and has continued to slam the impeachment inquiry against Trump asthe most partisan one party impeachment since Bill Clinton.
The indictment against Stone alleges that he repeatedly discussed WikiLeaks in 2016 with campaign associates and lays out in detail Stones conversations about emails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and made public in the weeks before Trump beat Clinton.
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After WikiLeaks released hacked emails from the DNCon July 22, 2016, the indictment says, a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone about additional releases and about what other damaging information WikiLeaks had regarding the Clinton campaign. The indictment does not name the official or say who directed the outreach to Stone.
Stone is also accused of threatening New York radio host Randy Credico in an effort to prevent Credico from contradicting Stones testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.
Credico, along with former Trump adviserSteve Bannon, former political consultant and lobbyist Rick Gates and conservative conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi are expected to appear as witnesses in Stones case.
Fox News Gregg Re, Jake Gibson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.B: