Judge slams Roger Stone over book criticizing Robert Mueller, demands he comply with gag order
- A federal judge on Tuesday blasts Roger Stone over his new book that criticizes special counsel Robert Mueller, and she demands Stone explain his efforts to comply with a gag order that bars him from bad-mouthing Mueller.
- Judge Amy Berman Jackson, in a court filing, says, there "is no question that the order prohibited and continues to prohibit the defendant from making any public statements, using any medium, concerning the investigation."
- Stone, a longtime Republican operative and self-described "dirty trickster," is a friend of President Donald Trump.
A federal judge on Tuesday blasted Roger Stone over his new book that criticizes special counsel Robert Mueller, and she demanded Stone explain his efforts to comply with a gag order strictly barring him from bad-mouthing Mueller.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson, in a court filing, wrote that there "is no question that the order prohibited and continues to prohibit the defendant from making any public statements, using any medium, concerning the investigation."
"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," Jackson wrote about Stone, a longtime Republican operative and friend of President Donald Trump.
Jackson rejected Stone's request that she "clarify" that her gag order on him does not apply to his new book. The judge also chastised Stone's lawyers for misrepresenting the status of the book, which they now admit is already on sale, despite having told the judge last Friday that its publication was "imminent."
If Jackson decides that Stone has disobeyed her gag order, she could revoke his $250,000 signature release bond and order him held without bail until his trial on charges of lying to Congress and witness tampering.
He has pleaded not guilty in the case, where he is accused of making false statements about his alleged contacts with WikiLeaks in connection with a purported effort to have that document-release group disclose material hacked from Democrats by Russian agents.
Jackson only recently had learned that the self-described "dirty trickster" Stone was on the verge of publishing the book, "The Myth of Russian Collusion," which takes shots at Mueller.
Stone's online presence appears to have been recently scrubbed of many of his prior attacks on the special counsel. Two websites used by Stone — whoframedrogerstone.com and stonezone.com — have been deleted in recent days. Both sites solicited money for Stone's legal defense fund, and both took shots at Mueller.
The special counsel is probing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign with that meddling.
The judge's awareness of the book came only after her Feb. 21 order prohibiting Stone from making any comments that criticize Mueller or the case against him. Jackson's gagging of Stone came after he posted an image on Instagram showing her face next to the crosshair of a rifle's scope.
Jackson noted last week that Stone's lawyers had not told her about the forthcoming book when she held the hearing Feb. 21 on the gag order.
In the book, Stone writes: "I now find myself on Crooked Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's hit list because I have advised Donald Trump for the past forty years. I am being targeted not because I committed a crime, but because the Deep State liberals want to silence me and pressure me to testify against my good friend."
In her new order Tuesday, Jackson demanded that Stone's lawyers by next Monday file a status report in federal court in Washington, D.C., "detailing his efforts to come into compliance with the Court's rulings."
She also wants Stone's lawyer to produce records related to his book deal and its schedule for release, the exact date the book first became available, when he learned the book had been printed, and other details about the book.
Neither Stone's lawyers nor a special counsel spokesman immediately responded to CNBC's request for comment.
Jackson seemed to suggest that Stone might have to withdraw the book from publication when she warned Stone that "any costs or consequences that will be occasioned by [the judge's] clear reiteration of this clear requirement" to comply with the gag order "are ... solely attributable to the defendant."
The judge noted that Stone "deliberately waited until public sales [of the book] were not only 'imminent,' but apparently, ongoing, to inform the Court of the publication effort that had been underway for weeks."
Jackson's order came a day after Mueller informed her that Stone had posted on Instagram an image of his face under the words "Who framed Roger Stone." The special counsel's filing cited a CNBC story on that Instagram post which raised the question of whether the image violated the gag order on Stone barring him from criticizing the prosecution's case.
Mueller took no position on whether Stone's post had violated the gag order. Stone deleted the image shortly after CNBC asked his lawyer about it.
On Tuesday, Jackson wrote, "The fact that the order exists at all is entirely the fault of the defendant."
"He used his public platform in an incendiary and threatening manner," she wrote, referring to the image of the crosshair next to her face.