Judge Chides Stone Lawyers for Sloppy Evidence Motion

WASHINGTON (CN) – Attorneys for longtime GOP operative and Trump confidante Roger Stone faced stern words from a federal judge late Tuesday for sloppy generalities in a recent motion.

Roger Stone, an associate of President Donald Trump, leaves the U.S. District Court, after a court status conference on his seven charges: one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering, in Washington, Thursday, March 14, 2019. Stone has pleaded not guilty to the charges. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

As noted in the docket order by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, Stone’s May 10 motion to suppress evidence included a list of search warrants without exhibit numbers, and in an order that “does not correspond to what was actually provided.”

As an example, Jackson said his attorneys failed to include the warrant or its application for the search of Stone’s former home in Florida.

Jackson also noted that Stone wants to challenge three warrants from Aug. 3 but provided the court with only only two, one of which was filed twice.

The judge ordered Stone’s attorneys to provide the court with copies of the warrants and their respective applications by Thursday if Stone indeed intends to challenge them.

One of Stone’s attorneys, Robert Buschel with the firm Buschel & Gibbons, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Stone, 66, had pleaded not guilty to charges of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction that arose from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian election interference.

Stone’s motion to suppress claims the government lacked probable cause because it relied on unproven assumptions that Russia hacked and released Democratic emails in 2016 that damaged Hillary Clinton.

Both special counsel Mueller and the U.S. intelligence community have reached that conclusion.

Adopting the rhetoric of the president and his allies, who have consistently questioned whether Russia was behind the hacking operation, Stone’s motion questions that determination.

The government, Stone claims, relied on “assumptions made by a source outside of the U.S. intelligence community” in tying Russian government officials to hacking the material and handing it over to WikiLeaks.

“The government cannot prove either since it did not participate in the investigation at the earliest stage,” Stone said in his 9-page motion.

The outside source referenced in the motion is CrowdStrike, a private firm hired by the Democratic National Committee to investigate the hacks.

Stone says CrowdStrike failed to properly preserve data from the DNC server, which he claims renders the evidence inadmissible in court.

But Stone goes a step further, offering a declaration from a longtime analyst with the National Security Agency, who says WikiLeaks did not receive the hacked materials from Russian government officials. The materials, according to the analyst’s declaration, were acquired from within the DNC office, not from an external actor.

Stone says the foundation for all the search warrants he wants to challenge rests on the special counsel’s determination that Russia hacked the Democratic emails and then handed them over to WikiLeaks.

“If that foundation collapses, then the warrants must fail for lack of probable cause,” the motion says.

As part of his sweeping probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Mueller indicted and named 12 Russian intelligence officers he accused of waging the hacking operation, and then filtering the stolen material through the fake personas DC Leaks and Guccifer 2.0.

Prosecutors have said they have evidence that Stone communicated with WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0, and that Stone’s case arose from common search warrants related to the case against the Russian intelligence officers.

Stone had previously objected to his indictment being formally listed as related to that case.

He has asked the court to dedicate a hearing scheduled for June 21 to weighing the legality of the search warrants.

After Mueller wrapped his probe in March, he handed off Stone’s prosecution to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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