WASHINGTON (CN) — Lifting some redactions in the Mueller report for a closed audience, a federal judge agreed Thursday that the materials are necessary to help Roger Stone prepare for his trial on witness tampering and lying to Congress.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson reviewed the unredacted portions from the report in May and has now provided strict guidelines to the Justice Department on what information Stone’s lawyers should access.
By Aug. 8, according to the order, the government must let Stone see “the material found in the first 3 sentences of the second paragraph on page 36 (i.e., not including the sentence that begins ‘The investigation…’),” plus information from more than a dozen pages of the report stretching from page 5 to page 197.
Stone had sought access to the complete report, arguing it holds important evidence relating to “base assumptions” by special counsel Robert Mueller that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and the 2016 Clinton campaign.
Stone also argued that information in the report may prove that Congress did not in fact refer his case to the Justice Department for investigation.
“Either the special counsel’s report provides the answer to these questions or it does not; either way, the report will provide evidence necessary to prepare a defense for trial or provide evidence to support motions to dismiss,” lawyers for Stone wrote in an April motion.
Judge Jackson’s order emphasizes that Stone cannot distribute the information to anyone outside his legal team. Following repeated publicity stunts including on Instagram where Stone posted a photo of Judge Jackson beside the crosshairs of a gun, the former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump already faces a gag order prohibiting him from any social-media activity.
Stone had also moved to dismiss his indictment, but Jackson rejected that attempt in the same Thursday order.
“The defense has not identified any legal grounds that would support dismissing or enjoining this action or authorizing discovery into the prosecutors’ internal deliberations,” she explained in an accompanying 56-page opinion.
Jackson emphasized that her ruling not be interpreted as expressing any viewpoint on Stone’s ongoing case.
“Defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until the government proves his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” she wrote.