01 Roger Stone hearing 0225
Washington CNN  — 

Convicted longtime Trump friend and adviser Roger Stone has told the federal court he is appealing his sentence and his judge’s refusal to grant him a new trial.

The appeal effectively keeps Stone in the spotlight as he tries to avoid having to report to prison. Over the past two weeks, Stone has repeatedly shared messages on social media that he should be freed or pardoned, and his case is still capturing Trump’s attention.

Stone hasn’t yet begun serving his 40-month sentence for lying to Congress, obstruction and witness intimidation.

He has tried twice to throw out the jury’s verdict, alleging juror misconduct, but federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the US District Court in DC found both times there was no legal reason. Stone’s legal team, Trump and right-wing media have attacked jurors in his case, specifically focusing on anti-Trump tweets by the jury forewoman from before she served at the trial.

In denying him a new trial, Jackson noted that the appeals court above her, the DC Circuit, generally leaves decisions to grant new trials with the trial-level judge – making it clear Stone’s chances for a successful appeal are low.

Trump, in a storm of tweets Thursday morning sympathizing with Stone and another defendant from the Mueller investigation, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, again called the foreperson on Stone’s jury biased.

Earlier this week, Stone’s actions in 2016 and 2017 were highlighted again in court after freshly unsealed federal court records revealed communications with WikiLeaks that weren’t previously known, and an effort described by his assistant to spread propaganda on Facebook that distanced the hack of the Democrats from Russia.

At trial, Justice Department prosecutors proved that Stone had repeatedly spoken to top Trump campaign officials in 2016 about trying to reach WikiLeaks as the organization was releasing Democratic emails stolen by the Russians that could help Trump win the election.

Stone responded to this week’s court disclosures by saying there is no evidence he colluded with Russia or WikiLeaks in 2016.