Political operative Roger Stone’s long-awaited federal trial officially began on Tuesday in the District of Columbia with jury selection. What was expected to be a run-of-the-mill event quickly turned alarming as a man, described as being in his mid-forties, suffered an apparent seizure in court.
A Courthouse News reporter who witnessed this said that the man was a member of the public sitting in the back row of the courtroom.
“To clarify, the man a member of the public was convulsing on the floor in the back row and his feet could be heard hitting the bench as the courtroom emptied,” said Megan Miniero. “He was standing in line for about an hour before the courtroom opened, wearing a trench court and brimmed hat.”
Roger Stone reportedly left the courtroom sweating before this happened and his wife was overheard asking if he was okay.
The courtroom was cleared and proceedings went into a recess.
Medics responded to the scene with a stretcher. The unidentified man who fell ill walked out of the courtroom and was observed shaking. After that, he did lie down on the stretcher. Reuters reported that the man limped out of court and was taken by stretcher to an ambulance.
Jury selection itself has not been without controversy. One potential juror that Stone’s attorneys motioned to strike from the juror pool was a woman who worked in the Obama administration as a communications director for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected the motion by Stone’s attorneys:
At the outset, Jackson made clear that having an opinion about Trump or working for the federal government were not disqualifying factors for jurors indicating bias against Stone.
Still, Stone’s lawyers quickly moved to strike from serving as a juror a woman who said she previously worked in former President Barack Obama’s administration and her husband worked at the Justice Department. Jackson shot that effort down, saying the woman had credibly denied having an opinion on the Stone case.
This was not the only motion to strike that Judge Jackson rejected.
Prosecutors allege that Stone lied when he testified before the House Intelligence Committee regarding his interactions with WikiLeaks, took steps to obstruct investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and tampered with witness Randy Credico:
After the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (“HPSCI”), the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (“SSCI”), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) opened or announced their respective investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which included investigating STONE’s claims of contact with Organization 1.
In response, STONE took steps to obstruct these investigations. Among other steps to obstruct the investigations, STONE:
a. Made multiple false statements to HPSCI about his interactions regarding Organization 1, and falsely denied possessing records that contained evidence of these interactions; and b. Attempted to persuade a witness to provide false testimony to and withhold pertinent information from the investigations.
Stone faces seven counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of making false statements, and one count of witness tampering. He has pleaded not guilty and is currently free on bond.
Spotted again later, Stone was still deemed to be “looking unwell.”
We now know that Stone left court early, apparently because of food poisoning.
That would explain the lengthy bout in the bathroom.
Rodger Stone is still in the bathroom, after exiting the courtroom sweating over half an hour ago. Overheard his wife asking if he was ok about 15mins ago.
— Megan Mineiro (@MMineiro_CNS) November 5, 2019
[Image via Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images]
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