Roger Stone castigated by judge over book release
The judge who ordered Roger Stone not to talk about his criminal case gave him until Monday to provide her with emails and other communications with the publisher of his latest book that includes a new introduction from Stone critical of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson wants to know if Stone violated the gag order with the availability of the book – “The Myth of Russian Collusion.” A breach of her order could put Stone, an occasional adviser to President Donald Trump, at risk of being jailed before his trial on charges that he lied to Congress, tampered with witnesses and obstructed justice.
Stone’s lawyers say they failed to mention the book at a Feb. 21 hearing because it had been available online since Feb. 19. But Jackson noted in a five-page order on Tuesday that she should have been told about it – and that Stone’s lawyers also said publication was “imminent,” a submission she called a “misrepresentation.”
“There is no question that the order prohibited and continues to prohibit the defendant from making any public statements, using any medium, concerning the investigation,” Jackson wrote in a five-page order Tuesday.
“It does not matter when the defendant may have first formulated the opinions expressed, or when he first put them into words: he may no longer share his views on these particular subjects with the world,” she added.
The book includes a new introduction critical of Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election. Jackson is handling criminal proceedings against some others indicted by Mueller, including Paul Manafort, whom she’s scheduled to sentence next week.
Jackson ordered Stone to submit a report detailing his efforts to comply with the gag order by March 11. He must also produce records, contracts and emails with his publisher about the book’s release; detail when he became aware that the new edition was made available to the public; and disclose any social media posts from Jan. 15 to the present about the book’s publication.
“The fact that the order exists at all is entirely the fault of the defendant; the court did not impose any restrictions on his speech whatsoever until, as he put it, he abused the latitude’ the court gave him,” Jackson wrote. “He used his public platform in an incendiary and threatening manner.”
The judge was referring to a picture of her that Stone posted on Instagram, which included apparent rifle-scope crosshairs over her shoulder.
The case is U.S. v. Stone, 19-cr-18, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).