According to press reports – The trial of Roger Stone got off to an unusual start Tuesday as jury selection proceedings were punctuated by his exit from the court due to what he said was food poisoning.
The unique scene at a federal courthouse in Washington accentuated what had already been a chaotic pretrial process as investigators trying to determine whether the longtime Donald Trump associate and political provocateur obtained information from WikiLeaks first had to interview — and in some cases do legal battle with — a range of eccentric witnesses. Stone has said he’s done nothing wrong.
The high-profile trial could bring out new details about what former special counsel Robert Mueller found regarding the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election. But on Tuesday, it was Stone’s apparent illness that defined the first day in court.
“Mr. Stone is not feeling well,” defense attorney Robert Buschel told Judge Amy Berman Jackson at the bench shortly after the potential jurors were sworn in, according to transcripts of sidebar discussions with the judge.
On two occasions, Stone was allowed to leave the courtroom to use the restroom. The judge made him aware they could postpone the proceedings, since he had a right to be in court and face his potential jurors.
“I’m not going to order him to waive his constitutional rights, but we cannot spend a whole day doing what we should be able to do in a short period of time,” Jackson said, according to the transcript. “So, let him go, let him come back, and then we’re going to bring in the next juror.”
At one point the judge even offered anti-diarrheal medication to the defendant.
“I have Imodium in my chambers,” she said.