Judge Toys With Gag Order for Trial of Roger Stone

WASHINGTON (CN) – Dropping a well-timed Patriots reference, the federal judge presiding over the criminal case against GOP power player Roger Stone said in court this morning that she might issue a gag order.

Former campaign adviser for President Donald Trump, Roger Stone arrives at Federal Court on Jan. 29, 2019, in Washington. Stone was arrested in the special counsel’s Russia investigation and was charged with lying to Congress and obstructing the probe. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Warning Stone and prosecutors that they are involved in a criminal proceeding, “not a public relations campaign,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the order would be limited to matters directly involved in the case.

“The parties could discuss foreign relations, immigration or Tom Brady as much as they want,” Jackson said.

Stone, 66, has not shied away from microphones outside of the courtroom, appearing on Fox News the night of his arrest and even hosting a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Thursday in which he discussed the charges against him.

Judge Jackson signaled surprise today meanwhile at the government’s plan to have Stone tried in the fall. 

Though the judge said she had envisioned a trial taking place sometime in July or August, prosecutor Michael Marando mentioned October, saying the case might proceed slowly based on the volume of discovery.  

Stone was indicted one week ago on charges of lying to Congress and obstructing an official proceeding. The case is being jointly tried by attorneys from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

According to the indictment unsealed last week, Stone directed radio host Randy Credico and conservative author Jerome Corsi, who are both referred to pseudonymously in the indictment, to get details from WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election about its plans to release emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

Stone is accused of telling the Trump campaign that WikiLeaks had the stolen documents and that the longtime Republican political operative obliged when an unnamed senior campaign official asked him to relay additional information about future releases from the radical transparency group.

Stone has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is next expected in court on March 14 for another status hearing.

In a separate matter involving Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election, a Belarusian model who claimed to have tapes that proved a connection between the Trump campaign and the Russian government told The Associated Press Friday that she has turned over the alleged evidence to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

Anastasia Vashukevich, who recently returned to the United States after spending time in a Thai prison on sex-solicitation charges, told the AP she gave the tapes to Deripaska because she “did not want any more trouble.”

“If he wants to make any of it public, if he thinks that it’s a good idea, he can do it himself,” Vashukevich said, according to the AP.

Deripaska is well connected to the Russian government and has ties to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was last year convicted of tax and bank fraud in a trial in Virginia.

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