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Stone says he should be free to speak in Russian Federation probe case

11 February 2019

Attorneys for President Donald Trump's longtime confidant Roger Stone urged a federal judge overseeing his criminal trial not to impose a gag order, citing his constitutional rights to free speech as a writer and political commentator, and asked to have his case reassigned to a different judge.

Mr. Stone, 66, was arrested last month in connection with a criminal indictment charging him with seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering related to the government's attempt to investigate alleged Russian Federation interference in the 2016 US presidential race. He has made several talk show and media appearances attacking special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation since his indictment on charges of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

Jackson raised the issue last week after she warned Stone not to treat his criminal case like a "book tour".

In the latest filing, Stone's attorneys write that his comments don't merit a "clear and present danger to a fair trial".

His attorney pointed out that Stone's career is writing about politics and he is familiar to those following the United States politics, but argued that the consultant is "hardly ubiquitous in the larger landscape of popular consciousness".

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"On Instagram, Kim Kardashian has 126 million followers", the filing pointed out. "Roger Stone's Instagram following amounts to 39 thousand subscribers".

In a filing of its own later Friday, the special counsel's office suggested ordering Mr. Stone to "refrain from making further statements to the media or in public settings that are substantially likely to have a materially prejudicial effect on the case".

Agents later walk Stone back into his home, still handcuffed, for unknown reasons.

Stone is suspected of lying about his contacts with Julian Assange and of speaking with Trump about pending WikiLeaks dumps that might have damaged election opponent Hillary Clinton.

Stone has repeatedly denied having any contact with Russian Federation or WikiLeaks. He has said he only sought to encourage voter interest in the group's public disclosures. Stone's lawyers have alleged CNN, lurking in the shadows at the time of the raid, were tipped off beforehand and that at least one reporter allegedly had a draft copy of Stone's indictment before he appeared in court.

Stone says he should be free to speak in Russian Federation probe case