AP NEWS

Roger Stone rebuffed over leaking claims mounted against Robert Mueller’s office

February 28, 2019

Roger Stone was rebuffed in his bid to hold special counsel Robert Mueller’s office responsible for CNN being on the scene of his dramatic predawn arrest last month.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Wednesday issued a four-page opinion from a federal court in D.C. denying a request filed on behalf of Mr. Stone, a former adviser to President Trump’s election campaign, seeking a hearing to determine if the special counsel’s office violated an order barring the government from leaking details in advance of FBI agents raiding his Florida home on the morning of Jan. 25.

“The exhibits defendant attached to his motion supplied no reason to believe that any contempt of court had occurred, and the record as a whole, including defendant’s motion and exhibits demonstrates that there is no basis for the issuance of the requested order,” the judge ruled.

“Thus, no hearing on a motion to show cause is necessary,” she wrote.

Mr. Stone, 66, was taken into custody during the raid in connection with an indictment returned a day earlier by a grand jury convened as part of the special counsel’s ongoing probe into the 2016 election. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges seven counts of perjury, obstruction and tampering but is barred from publicly discussing the case under a recently imposed gag order.

The FBI raid was caught on camera by CNN, and Mr. Stone’s lawyers subsequently accused the special counsel’s office of violating a court order that banned the government from disclosing details about its investigation prior to taking the defendant into custody, “enabling news media to attend and witness Stone’s 6 a.m. arrest.”

Rejecting that argument Wednesday, Judge Jackson said that the special counsel’s office provided reporters with a digital copy of the government’s indictment charging Mr. Stone roughly 10 minutes after his arrest.

“There is nothing in the record to substantiate the central allegation in defendant’s motion that ‘a news crew knew the time and place of the arrest having been provided with an unfiled, draft copy of the indictment the Court had ordered sealed,’” the judge said. “The [special counsel’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.”

Mr. Stone previously circulated an image on social media that falsely claimed CNN legal analyst Josh Campbell, a former FBI employee, was on the scene of his arrest. He has since been barred from commenting on his case as a result of posting an image on Instagram of Judge Jackson beneath a symbol resembling crosshairs.

CNN producer David Shortell previously attributed its presence outside Mr. Stone’s home during his arrest as “reporter’s instinct.”

“The whole Russia team thought maybe something was happening,” Mr. Shortell said shortly following the raid, citing “unusual grand jury activity” and “other signs” of movement.