Former Stone Aide Wants Contempt Order Tossed as Moot

WASHINGTON (CN) – A former aide of longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone who is fighting a contempt order for refusing to testify before special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury says the issue is now moot since the investigation wrapped.

Paul Kamenar, attorney for Andrew Miller, right, talks to reporters on Aug. 10, 2018, after a federal judge found Miller in contempt for refusing to testify before a grand jury. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Mueller’s team sought testimony from Andrew Miller last year about Stone’s connections to WikiLeaks, its founder Julian Assange and Guccifer 2.0, the alleged online persona of Russian intelligence officers that stole Democratic emails damaging to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Miller fought the subpoena and argued that Mueller’s appointment was unconstitutional, but the D.C. Circuit upheld its legality in February, along with the contempt order against Miller.

In a petition filed Friday night, Miller argued that the grand jury can no longer legally obtain evidence from witnesses like himself since the special counsel indicted Stone in January.

Miller also argues that the case is moot since Mueller submitted his report on March 22, and handed the Stone case off to the U.S. attorney’s office.

“Thus, like Cinderella’s carriage that turned into a pumpkin at midnight, special counsel Mueller’s authority expired,” the petition states.  

Filed by Miller’s attorney Paul Kamenar, the petition asks the court to compel the government to say whether it intends to still pursue his client’s testimony. It also asks the panel that upheld Mueller’s appointment – or the full D.C. Circuit – to rehear the appeal.

Kamenar repeated arguments a three-judge panel rejected back in February that no law allows a department head – in this case acting attorney general Rod Rosenstein – to appoint a private attorney as an inferior officer.

In a separate matter Friday, Stone asked a federal judge in Washington, D.C., to require the government to turn over a full copy of Mueller’s report as part of discovery in the case, arguing he is the only person with standing to make such a request.

“His lawyers must be allowed to review the report in its entirety because it contains the government’s evidence and conclusions on matters essential to Stone’s defense,” the six-page motion says.

Attorney Robert Buschel said in a filing late Friday night that the report would support Stone’s argument that Mueller’s investigation lacked constitutional authority.

According to Buschel, Mueller’s investigation of Stone violated the separation of powers doctrine because Congress did not refer Stone’s testimony to the Justice Department.

The filing argues that the government would need to prove at trial that President Donald Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia’s effort to interfere in the 2016 election.

Pointing to Attorney General William Barr’s four-page letter outlining the conclusions of Mueller’s report, Buschel argued that “the entire theory of obstruction is ‘entirely dependent on first finding collusion.’” (Emphasis in original).

The filing notes that Mueller’s investigation reportedly clears Trump of any such conspiracy, as per Barr’s letter.

Stone has pleaded not guilty to making false statements, obstructing justice and witness tampering.

The charges emerged from conversations he had in 2016 about WikiLeaks, which released material Mueller said Russian intelligence officers hacked and stole from Democrats that damaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Stone also alleged in motions filed Friday night that the special counsel selectively prosecuted him, challenging the constitutionality of Mueller’s appointment. 

%d bloggers like this: