(CNN)Trial-level federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson has handled some of the most politically significant court cases of the Trump era and its aftermath and become one of the most incisive voices on the corruption and political spin of the era.
Known for her sharp criticism of the Trump administration’s moves in the criminal proceedings of former Trump advisers Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, Jackson this week cut through Washington’s noise again as she called former Attorney General William Barr’s considerations for rolling out the Mueller report “public relations” in a records access lawsuit opinion.
Days later, in the criminal cases of two January 6 US Capitol riot defendants, she noted how former President Donald Trump was continuing to spread lies, potentially inspiring his supporters to strike again.
Trump “continues to propagate the lie that inspired the attack on a near daily basis,” she wrote in an opinion Thursday keeping riot defendant Karl Dresch in jail. “And the anger surrounding the false accusation continues to be stoked by multiple media outlets as well as the state and federal party leaders who are intent on censuring those who dare to challenge the former President’s version of events.”
Dresch, like other Trump followers, “stands ready to do it again,” because of a belief that a civil war may be necessary and his allegiance to Trump, who continues to challenge the election, Jackson noted.
Her commentary about Barr, the Capitol rioters and the former President himself isn’t atypical coming from the DC District Court, where several judges have made headlines in recent years for harshly calling out obfuscation in the Trump administration and the criminal actors connected to Trump.
But Jackson has handled more of the most high-profile cases than perhaps any other district judge in Washington, and she still oversees historically important cases.
Jackson has noted the culture of lies repeatedly.
“If people don’t have the facts, democracy doesn’t work,” she said in 2019, to Manafort’s co-defendant and former Trump campaign official Rick Gates, after the pair had hidden their lucrative lobbying business on behalf of Ukrainians.
The same year, she told the former Trump campaign chairman Manafort, “What you were doing was lying to members of Congress and the American public.”
Taking on lying
Jackson has become well known in recent years for preparing long recitations for even procedural courtroom check-ins.
In the Manafort, Gates and Stone cases, and now in Capitol riot cases, she sometimes has spent more than an hour speaking without interruption, outlining her legal considerations and facts of the case.
At times, those speeches have given her room to comment on what may be the defining aspect of the Trump years: disinformation.
During Stone’s sentencing, for instance, she spoke at length about the boldness of him lying to Congress to protect the President.
She called Stone’s embrace of lying a threat “to the very foundation of our democracy.”
In the Stone case — her last major defendant to sentence from the Mueller era — Jackson gave even broader commentary than before about the historical implications of what had happened.
“If it goes unpunished, it will not be a victory for one party or another,” she told him, before sentencing him
Judge Amy Berman Jackson strikes again
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