CNN: Seth Cousins, a juror in the Roger Stone trial, defends the guilty verdict, saying that it was “not rigged” and that President Donald Trump “damages our democracy” by attacking the process. “This was not rigged. No, Sir,” Cousins said. “I think it’s appalling for the President to be attacking American citizens for fulfilling their duties to our Republic,” the juror said to CNN host Chris Cuomo.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN: So Trump today argues via tweet that “Blago, he didn’t sell the Senate seat. Nothing happened.” Yes, nothing happened, because he was caught in the attempted bribe. Sound familiar? Of course, it is. Trump doesn’t see this as corruption by Blago and others. And if he does, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. And yet, he wants you to think he’s the world’s greatest Anti-Corruption Crusader. And his next cause, Roger Stone. First, Trump said the sentence was too harsh. Guess what? The Attorney General lessened it. Now, he’s hinting that the case was rigged. But you know what? We have someone here tonight to tell you “No way.” Juror Number Three, speaking out for the first time about the President’s stone-cold attack on the case he helped decide. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CUOMO: Mr. Cousins, thank you for joining us. SETH COUSINS, JUROR, ROGER STONE TRIAL: Thank you. Glad to be here. CUOMO: So, you guys deliberated for eight hours on the Roger Stone case. What was your sense in the room? I’ve read your op-ed, but for the audience, was this a very hard decision for the jury on these seven counts? COUSINS: I would say, in general, it was not. There was one particular count and one particular element of one count that we spent probably half the time debating. But I would say, for the most part, we came to unanimous conclusion on each element and each charge pretty quickly and pretty easily. CUOMO: Now there’s a new debate. The President says “Something funny here, funny way this was prosecuted, funny the way. The jury was — one of the jury seems to be a Democrat who was the foreperson.” You seemed to not like the President in your op-ed. Was this rigged? COUSINS: This was not rigged. No, Sir. CUOMO: How can you make people confident of that fact? The President says it was. “There’s no way that he should have been convicted for what he did.” What do people need to know? COUSINS: Sure. Well, Chris, I think the most important thing that people need to know is that we followed a very rigorous process. As a group, as a jury group, we looked at every element of every single charge. And we looked into the evidence. We tried to construct reasonable alternative explanations. And only when all of that failed, did each of us individually make the decision to vote guilty, and to decide that each element and each charge had in fact been proven. CUOMO: Did you pick up on the foreperson’s political proclivities in terms of how they handled the position and the deliberations? COUSINS: No, absolutely not. The — the irony here is that Tomeka Hart, who we elected as our foreperson on a secret ballot, Tomeka actually was perhaps the strongest advocate in the room for a rigorous process for the rights of the defendant, and for making sure that we — that we took it seriously, and looked at each charge. Without her in the room, we would have returned the same verdict, and we would have returned it more quickly, and without looking as deeply into the evidence. I’m firmly convinced of that. CUOMO: It’s an interesting counterpoint. In general, how does it make you feel that the President is basically questioning the motives of a jury of peers? COUSINS: Chris, I’m appalled, honestly. I think it’s appalling for the President to be attacking American citizens for fulfilling their duties to our Republic. And further, I think the — the actions of the President and of the Attorney General called, I don’t know, they cast doubt on the — the bedrock of the equal administration of justice that is just so — so important to our country. I think he damages our democracy by attacking this way. And I wish he would stop. CUOMO: What’s your sense, right now about, having learned about Roger Stone and his relationship with the President, do you have an uneasy feeling that this wasn’t about justice that he’s going to get out of this? COUSINS: Well my understanding is that the President has the ability to pardon anyone– CUOMO: Yes. COUSINS: –for anything at any time. CUOMO: Pretty much. COUSINS: So if, honestly, if that’s the endgame, I wish he would just go ahead and do it now, rather than continuing these baseless attacks. CUOMO: If he were to pardon Roger Stone, would that meet any definition of fairness to you? COUSINS: No, certainly not fair. Legal perhaps, but not fair. CUOMO: Why? COUSINS: Well, Roger Stone — we — we convicted Roger Stone, not of his politics. We didn’t convict him of acting boorishly. We convicted him of obstructing a Congressional inquiry, of lying in that inquiry, and of — of tampering with a witness, who was also meant to — to participate in that inquiry. The getting — getting at the truth of things is a very important thing. And that’s one of Congress’ fundamental oversight responsibilities, as I understand it. Tampering with that — that responsibility and — and Congress’ ability to — to fulfill that responsibility, it just feels like a dangerous road to me. CUOMO: You sat in that trial and you watched what happened between the parties and the Judge. This is now left on Judge Jackson’s plate what sentence to give. What was your sense of the Judge? COUSINS: My sense of the Judge, Chris, is that she was firm, fair, ran a — ran a very good process through the courtroom. Of course, we only interacted with her in the courtroom. Other than, after the verdict was rendered, she came back to the jury room to thank us for our service. But through the whole process, from the beginning of jury selection, through the — the conduct of the trial, and through the conclusion, I felt like she was doing a, from my perspective, a very fair job, of making sure that the defense was heard, that the prosecution was heard, and that we, as the jury, were getting the information that would help us understand the facts and render a verdict. CUOMO: Seth Cousins, I appreciate your perspective, and I thank you for your service on the jury. It’s not easy to get people in there to do the job. Thank you for doing it. COUSINS: Thank you, Sir.