Judge Rejects Stone Claims of Mueller Press Leaks

WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge on Wednesday denied Roger Stone’s request that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office prove it did not violate a court order sealing the indictment against the longtime Republican operative and former Trump associate.

Former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone leaves federal court in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Stone had accused Mueller of violating a court order by releasing the indictment before Stone’s early-morning arrest last month, tipping off media who were then able to capture the raid on his Florida home.

Mueller’s office denied the charges, telling U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in court briefs that it published the indictment only after Stone was arrested.

In a four-page order issued Wednesday, Jackson said that based on Stone’s own timeline of events, Mueller’s office complied with a court order governing the public release of the indictment.

Stone was arrested at 6:06 a.m., which freed up the Special Counsel’s Office to post the indictment on its public website. Ten minutes after Stone’s arrest, a spokesperson for the Special Counsel’s Office sent the indictment to reporters.

“The defendant misapprehends the clear purpose and the intent of the sealing order,” Jackson wrote. “The OSC’s publication of the indictment after the defendant’s arrest was not unauthorized and the court concludes that no order to show cause is warranted in this case based on these facts.”

Jackson’s order also does away with Stone’s claim that reporters were tipped off to his impending arrest ahead of time, noting a reporter did not contact Stone’s attorneys until 6:11 that morning, five minutes after he had been arrested.

“In any event, defendant’s recitation of the events reflects nothing more than the fact that the reporter had the indictment in hand after the defendant was arrested and there is no evidence that the reporter had it earlier,” Jackson wrote.

Stone is accused of obstruction and lying to Congress about his work seeking information about hacked emails WikiLeaks published during the 2016 election that were damaging to President Donald Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton. He has pleaded not guilty.

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