Judge Rips Roger Stone Over Book Criticizing Mueller

WASHINGTON (CN) – Saying her gag order is clear, a federal judge on Tuesday told former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone he must explain how the release of a new book that slams Special Counsel Robert Mueller complies with the order barring him from speaking publicly about his case.

Roger Stone arrives at federal court on Jan. 29, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Stone asked the court to clarify that the gag order does not apply to the re-release of a 2017 book called “The Making of the President 2016.” The new version contains an introduction criticizing Mueller, who has charged Stone with obstruction and lying to Congress, along with an updated title: “The Myth of Russian Collusion.”

The book was released on Feb. 19, the same day U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered Stone to appear in court to explain why he posted a picture of her on his Instagram account with apparent gun crosshairs near her head.

While Jackson had previously restricted Stone from speaking about the case only at or around the courthouse, she expanded that order on Feb. 21, forbidding Stone from speaking publicly at all about his case except to fundraise for his legal defense and proclaim his innocence.

In a five-page decision Tuesday afternoon, Jackson denied Stone’s motion for clarification and hinted that the book release could run afoul of her gag order.

On Monday, Stone notified the court that the book is already for sale but Jackson called him out for misrepresenting the situation to the court by describing the book’s release as “imminent” in his March 1 filing when he had ample opportunities to bring it to the court’s attention.

“The defendant failed to do so, and he did not inform the court that the introduction in question would soon be, or was already, available online,” the judge wrote.  

Stone argued in a court filing Monday that the book release does not violate the gag order since it was written before Jackson issued the order, and well before he knew she would do so.

But Jackson said the order is clear.

“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 said.  

And that is his own fault, Jackson wrote, noting that she only imposed the restriction on him after “he used his public platform in an incendiary and threatening manner.”

The judge also suggested that Stone should not raise a First Amendment challenge to the restriction since his own attorney had proposed an order barring Stone from commenting on the court or the special counsel.

Jackson ordered Stone to provide the court with a timeline from the publisher detailing the timing of the book’s release, and to explain when he first became aware the book had been printed, shipped and made available at bookstores and online.

She also wants Stone to divulge the content of any Instagram or other social media posts about the timing of the book’s release.

During the Feb. 19 hearing, Jackson had issued Stone a stern warning that any future violations of her gag order would result in pretrial detention.

Stone’s attorney Grant Smith with StrategySmith said in a statement, “In a timely fashion we will provide the judge with the information she requested. The filing will speak for itself.”

The special counsel’s office declined to comment on Jackson’s order.

Indicted as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Stone has pleaded not guilty to charges of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering related to his effort to obtain information about Democratic Party emails WikiLeaks published that damaged Trump opponent Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

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