Judge in Stone case considers issuing gag order

Judge in Stone case considers issuing gag order
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Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneTrump's pardons harshly criticized by legal experts Presidential pardons need to go Trump is gone, a political pariah — but with influence MORE's media tour may be coming to an end.

The federal judge overseeing Stone's criminal case in Washington, D.C., said Friday that she is considering issuing a gag order.


Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, cautioned President TrumpDonald TrumpClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration Day Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Biden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in funds MORE's longtime associate against treating proceedings leading up to his trial like a book tour, saying it could prejudice a potential jury pool.

She said she has noticed considerable publicity fueled by extrajudicial statements made by the defendant, and reminded Stone that this is a criminal trial, not a public relations campaign.

Stone, who wore a black suit with white stripes to court on Friday, has appeared on a number of major news networks since he was indicted last week on charges of obstructing a congressional inquiry, witness tampering and making false statements. Stone pled not guilty in court on Tuesday.

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE has accused the self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” of lying to the House Intelligence Committee about his interactions regarding WikiLeaks, the organization that released troves of hacked Democratic emails ahead of the 2016 election that U.S. officials later concluded were stolen by Russian military hackers.

Berman Jackson said a gag order would not ban all press communications, that the parties could still discuss “foreign relations, immigration or Tom Brady,” just not the case itself. It was an early push back on Stone's arguments that he needs the media to make a living.

"I would point out that I make a living writing and speaking about politics," he said at a press conference on Thursday. "I would hope that the court would take that into consideration.”

Berman Jackson is giving the prosecution and defense until Feb. 8 to express in writing any opposition they may have to the order.

Stone gave his signature double peace sign wave as he left the courthouse Friday, but did not make any remarks to the press. Grant Smith, one of his attorneys, told The Hill earlier in the day that Stone would fight any gag order.

“Mr. Stone will vigorously defend his First Amendment rights to speak,” Smith said.

At the press conference Thursday, Stone called the charges against him “after-the-fact process crimes.”

“I am not accused of Russian collusion, I am not accused of collaboration with WikiLeaks, I am not accused of conspiracy," he said. "There is no evidence or accusation that I knew in advance about the source or the content of the WikiLeaks material.”

While he has pledged to defend himself in court, he has not not ruled out striking a deal with Mueller.

“All I can tell you today is I will tell the truth about any matter that I have knowledge of,” he told reporters Thursday. “I don’t possess any knowledge of any wrongdoing by the president of the United States, including Russian collusion.”

In a Thursday filing, prosecutors called the amount of evidence in the case “voluminous and complex.”

Their filing said there are “multiple hard drives containing several terabytes of information,” as well as bank and financial records. Communications contained in iCloud and email accounts, and physical devices span several years, prosecutors said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Marando said Friday he was not ready to set a trial date, telling Berman Jackson he thought the government will be ready for a trial sometime in the fall given the amount of discovery and status conferences.

Berman Jackson, however, said she was thinking a trial could be held in July or August.

"I'm not saying fall is unreasonable," she added.

Stone is out on $250,000 bond, but his travel has been restricted to the Southern District of Florida, the Southern and Eastern districts of New York, Washington, D.C., and the Eastern District of Virginia. Berman Jackson revised those conditions on Friday, ordering Stone to notify pre-trial services two business days in advance of any planned travel.

The parties are due back in court on March 14 for another status hearing.

Morgan Chalfant contributed.

Updated at 4:27 p.m.