Roger Stone Must Face Trial, Gets Glimpse of Mueller Redactions
(Bloomberg) -- Roger Stone, the longtime ally of President Donald Trump, must face a November trial on charges of witness tampering, obstructing an investigation and lying to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington on Thursday denied Stone’s request she dismiss the case for a litany of reasons she found unpersuasive. In a minor victory for Stone, Jackson said his lawyers can see some parts of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election that pertain to him and had been blacked out from public view.
Stone’s attorneys had argued the information was essential to their client’s defense. Jackson said they can have it with the caveat they can’t share it with “anyone outside the defense team or use it for any purpose outside of Mr. Stone’s defense of this matter.”
Jackson has barred Stone from social media for criticisms he’d posted of the prosecution and the Mueller probe, to prevent his tainting a pool of potential jurors.
Stone, 66, was the last man indicted during Mueller’s probe. He’s accused of serving as a link between Trump’s campaign and WikiLeaks’ release of Democratic National Committee emails stolen by state-sponsored Russian hackers to embarrass Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The defense argued the indictment was invalid partly because the question of his lying to a House committee probing possible Russian election interference hadn’t been formally referred to the Justice Department for prosecution, and asserted the special counsel’s office must have learned of it through improper means.
“There is no precedent that would authorize the dismissal of an indictment based on pure conjecture, nor has the defendant pointed to any authority that holds that an alleged violation of internal House committee rules could invalidate an indictment returned by a grand jury,” Jackson wrote in her 56-page decision.
She added that the motion to toss out the case failed to note that Stone had brought attention to his House testimony himself by publicly releasing his written remarks before the hearing “and by holding a press conference -- while still on Capitol Hill -- immediately afterwards.”
Jackson also rejected assertions that the prosecution should be barred because Congress hadn’t specifically allocated money for the special counsel’s office, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
“The motions raised serious constitutional issues, and the judge treated them seriously,” defense lawyer Bruce Rogow said in a statement. “There will be no need to appeal if Mr. Stone is acquitted. We look forward to receiving the unredacted portions of the special counsel report.”
The case is U.S. v. Stone 19-cr-18, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
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