Thursday, 23 May, 2019

Judge in Roger Stone case says she's considering gag order

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Patty Aguilar | 02 February, 2019, 09:26

During a hearing in court Friday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she has not yet made up her mind on instituting a gag order on the defendant and attorneys in the case, but gave both sides a deadline of February 8 to submit in writing their positions on it.

The judge did not immediately issue an order barring Stone or prosecutors from discussing the case, giving both sides until next week to weigh in.

"Parties can discuss foreign relations, immigration or Tom Brady", Jackson said.

"It would not be a bar on all public relations, activities or press communications, but only those related to this case", she said.

Roger Stone speaks to the media after leaving the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on January 25.

Stone, a longtime GOP political operative, has said he will appeal any gag order imposed by Jackson, who has also handled the special counsel's case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Stone was taken into custody last Friday and charged with seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of an ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Stone noted at a press conference Thursday that he makes his living as a public relations consultant and by discussing and writing about politics.

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"I have great affection and remain a strong and loyal supporter of the president", Stone said.

Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor in SC and now a practicing attorney, said that although the arrest was precipitated by the Mueller special counsel investigation, the raid itself would have been organized by the FBI. She set another hearing date in the case for March 14.

What has Roger Stone said?

"I testified truthfully on any matter of importance", he said.

The government said it will provide the defense with hard drives containing "terabytes" of data, including search warrants for Apple iCloud accounts and email accounts, bank and financial records, and contents of Stone's devices such as cellphones, computers and storage drives spanning "several years". Trump denies any collusion and has called Mueller's investigation a witch hunt.

After his arrest he was released on $250,000 (£189,000) bail and with restrictions allowing him to travel only for court appearances in Florida, Washington DC and NY.

Stone's indictment refers to two people with whom he is accused of communicating in an effort to get more information about Wikileaks' plans for releases of stolen Democratic emails.

The indictment does not name the campaign official or who directed the alleged outreach to Stone. He has said that he had no advance knowledge of what material WikiLeaks held and that predictions he made about the group's plans were based on Assange's public comments and tips from associates.

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