Tomeka Hart was the foreperson on the Roger Stone jury. She is also a former Memphis school board member who has written a slew of political posts on social media, some of them negative to President Donald Trump. She has written a Facebook post supporting the prosecutors who resigned after the Justice Department overruled their tougher sentencing recommendation for Stone.
Hart, a Memphis native who works for the Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation, is also a frequent campaign donor to Democrats. She donated $100 to the Kamala Harris presidential campaign during Stone’s trial, according to FEC records. She also donated to the presidential campaign of Julian Castro. Both Harris and Castro were seeking to oppose Trump in the 2020 presidential election. She also retweeted a post negative to Stone.
In August, she wrote this tweet:
Stone is a long-time political operative close to Trump. The U.S. Justice Department, under Trump appointee Bill Barr, has now reversed course on its sentencing recommendation for Stone, arguing that he should be treated more lightly. Trump has tweeted condemnation over the government’s treatment of Stone because the prosecution stemmed from the Robert Mueller investigation he regards as unfair. The DOJ’s reduced sentencing recommendation led to the resignation of multiple prosecutors.
However, Hart’s own social media posts have now placed her under the public microscope. President Trump wrote a tweet that said: “Now it looks like the fore person in the jury, in the Roger Stone case, had significant bias. Add that to everything else, and this is not looking good for the ‘Justice’ Department. @foxandfriends @FoxNews.”
Here’s what you need to know about Tomeka Hart, the jury foreperson:
1. Hart Wrote on Facebook That She Wanted to ‘Stand Up’ for the Prosecutors Who Resigned
Hart has now spoken out in defense of the four prosecutors who resigned. She wrote on Facebook that she wants to “stand up” for them, according to CNN, which reviewed a copy of the post. Hart has now deleted her Facebook post.
The Commercial Appeal newspaper reprinted Hart’s post in full. It read:
I have kept my silence for months. Initially, it was for my safety. Then, I decided to remain silent out of fear of politicizing the matter.
But I can’t keep quiet any longer.
I want to stand up for Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed, Michael Marando, and Jonathan Kravis–the prosecutors on the Roger Stone trial who have all resigned from the case in response to the DOJ’s interference with their sentencing recommendation.
I’m standing up for them now because I was a juror on the case. In fact, I was the foreperson.
I am sharing the November 22, 2019 op-ed of Seth Cousins, another juror–and not just because he said this: ‘My favorite person on the jury was an African American woman from Tennessee.’
Seth perfectly articulated my sentiments. I couldn’t have written a better piece–so I share his. I admired his bravery in speaking out so soon after the trial. Read Seth’s piece please.
I wasn’t ready. There had already been attempts at finding out who I was. Threats to expose my identity. For a moment I was afraid.
But I don’t live in fear. It is not my nature to be silent.
As Seth asserts, ‘We did not convict Stone based on his political beliefs or his expression of those beliefs. We did not convict him of being intemperate or acting boorishly. We convicted him of obstructing a congressional investigation, of lying in five specific ways during his sworn congressional testimony and of tampering with a witness in that investigation.’
The prosecutors who have now resigned did a masterful job of laying out every element of every charge, backed with ample evidence. As foreperson, I made sure we went through every element, of every charge, matching the evidence presented in the case that led us to return a conviction of guilty on all 7 counts.
It pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors. They acted with the utmost intelligence, integrity, and respect for our system of justice.
For that, I wanted to speak up for them and ask you to join me in thanking them for their service.
According to CNN, the team of prosecutors originally recommended that Stone receive seven to nine years in prison after convictions that included lying to Congress and witness tampering, but the Barr-led DOJ then overruled that, asking for less.
This is what prosecutor Zelinsky said in his opening arguments on November 6, 2019 in the Stone trial, demonstrating the political overlay: “In a critical investigation of national importance, the defendant, Roger Stone, repeatedly lied under oath to a congressional committee and lied under oath to cover up his tracks. The evidence will show that Roger Stone lied to the House Intelligence Committee because the truth looked bad. The truth looked bad for the Trump campaign and the truth looked bad for Donald Trump.”
2. Hart Wrote Many Anti-Trump Social Media Posts
According to Fox News, Hart posted and shared “anti-Trump, left-wing social media posts.” One post was about the Stone case, in which she retweeted a post that made light of Stone for arguing that he was subjected to excessive force. Here’s that retweet:
Fox reported that another post “suggested President Trump and his supporters are racist” and praised the Robert Mueller investigation, which is what led to Stone being prosecuted in the first place.
A review by Heavy verified that Hart has posted a slew of political, anti-Trump tweets. Although her Facebook posts are gone, her Twitter page is still active, and it contains multiple still-visible political tweets, including anti-Trump tweets and parts of the now deleted Facebook posts, which she had also posted on Twitter. Some of her tweets are shares of articles that read things like, “What’s so extremely, uniquely wrong about Trump’s presidency” and “Leaked documents show Trump aide concealed ties to Putin cronies.” In 2016, she wrote, “Palin’s endorsement of Trump for president makes me nervous. I mean, she endorsed herself for VP in 2008…oh wait. Never mind. Carry on.” As far back as 2013, she wrote, “Yeah, Donald Trump, King of the Birthers, you’re looking very hypocritical…”
Stone was convicted on November 15, 2019.
She wasn’t the only juror harboring such views. Another Stone juror was an “Obama-era press official with admitted anti-Trump views,” and yet another had donated to Democrat Beto O’Rourke and other liberal causes, according to Fox.
In November, she shared a story on Twitter on November 12, 2019, headlined, “Clinton says she is being urged by ‘many, many, many people’ to run in 2020.” The Stone trial was ongoing at that time. She also wrote, “So POTUS goes to the Bama game, gets a standing ovation from the home crowd, and Tide gets Rolled in their first loss of the season. ?? Correlation doesn’t equal causation, but I’m just saying…”
In September, she wrote, “Jury Duty day!! This is the 4th time I’ve been called for jury duty. If I’m picked, it will be the 3rd time I’ve served on a jury.”
Conservative Mike Cernovich first reported on the social media posts.
3. Hart, a Frequent Democratic Campaign Donor, Was on the Memphis City Schools Board
Federal Election Commission records show that Hart is a frequent donor to Democrats.
In addition to donating several times to Harris and Castro, Hart also has given money to ActBlue, a Democratic-aligned group. She also gave money to the Mark Kelly Senate campaign. Here are some of her donations, according to the FEC:
According to her Twitter page, Hart, who is now based in Washington D.C., defines herself as, “I ❤️ Memphis. Fighting for equity & excellence in ed for low-income & children of color is my life. Tweets are my own; retweets don’t equal agreement.”
Her bio on the First 8 Memphis organization’s website says she “served two terms on the Memphis City/Shelby County School Board (TN), including a term as Board President.” First 8 Memphis is a group that was formed “to help achieve equity and opportunity across two generations.”
It adds: “She currently serves on the board of the Data Quality Campaign, where she chairs the Board/Staff Development Committee. Additionally, she serves as co-chair of the Grantmakers for Education Equity Impact Group, and as a member of the University of Tennessee College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board.”
Hart holds an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership.
On LinkedIn, she explains, “I was elected to the Memphis City Schools Board of Commissioners in 2004; re-elected in 2008. I served as the 2008-2009 Board President. In 2010 I joined another colleague and led the efforts to merge the Memphis City and Shelby County Schools. I served on the Unified Shelby County Schools Board of Education (combination of Memphis/Shelby County schools) from 2011-2013, after the merger of the two systems.”
4. Hart is a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
A bio for Hart on the website for the board of the First 8 Memphis organization defines her as a “Senior Program Officer. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”
It says that she is a native of Memphis and leads “education policy and advocacy grantmaking to civil rights and equity organizations and managing the social-emotional learning policy portfolio.”
On LinkedIn, she writes that she’s held that position for three years. “I manage a portfolio of grants to Civil Rights and Equity organizations, focusing on education policy and advocacy,” she explains.
She was previously vice president of strategic partnerships at the Southern Education Foundation, “VP of African American community partnerships for Teach For America, and as the president/CEO of the Memphis Urban League.”
On LinkedIn, she describes herself as, “Senior Program Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the community and public service industries. Skilled in Nonprofit Management, Education Policy & Advocacy, Public Speaking, and Organizational Behavior.”
5. Hart is a Former Teacher & Labor Lawyer
According to the bio, Hart “is a former middle and high school teacher, and a former labor and employment lawyer.”
Her Case.org bio says that she “holds a B.S. degree in Marketing Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; an M.B.A. from Kennesaw State University; and a J.D. from the University of Memphis.”
When the University of Tennessee honored Hart with an accomplished alumni award, she said, “I have dedicated my life’s work to ensuring other students like me have the resources for success in college from day one.”
She’s been appointed to positions by two governors, a Republican and Democrat.
In 2011, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam “appointed Hart as a Commissioner of the Education Commission of the States, a national non-partisan organization that helps states develop education policies,” the Case.org bio states. “Former Tennessee Governor, Phil Bredesen, selected her for Tennessee’s Race to the Top team, and he appointed her to the state’s Teacher Evaluation Advisory Committee, and the First to the Top Advisory Council.”
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