Judge in Roger Stone case restricts public comments

The federal judge overseeing longtime GOP operative Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneWould Trump have gotten away with a self-pardon? History will never know Trump's pardons harshly criticized by legal experts Presidential pardons need to go MORE’s criminal case in Washington, D.C., issued a gag order Friday barring his attorneys and prosecutors from discussing the case in public or with the media.

“Counsel for the parties and the witnesses must refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case,” U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said.


She further ordered that all parties must refrain from talking to the media or the public when they are entering or exiting the courthouse, or near the building.

"I am pleased that the judge's order leaves my First Amendment right to defend myself in public intact," Stone told The Hill. "I will, of course, continue to be judicious about my comments regarding the case."

Stone, a longtime ally and informal adviser to President TrumpDonald TrumpMore than two-thirds of Americans approve of Biden's coronavirus response: poll Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor Mexico's president tests positive for COVID-19 MORE, has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from 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’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

Stone was arrested on Jan. 25 in an early-morning FBI raid of his home. He was released on a $250,000 bond and has been making the media rounds ever since, appearing for interviews on national news networks in an effort to clear his name.

Berman Jackson, who was appointed by former President Obama, said in her four-page order Friday that there will be no additional restrictions imposed on Stone’s ability to make public statements or appearances at this time, but she warned that the order can be amended in the future.

In court earlier this month, Berman Jackson said a gag order would not ban all press communications. She said that the parties could not discuss the case itself, but could still discuss “foreign relations, immigration or Tom Brady,” the quarterback of the New England Patriots, who were on their way to another Super Bowl appearance at the time.

In her order Friday, she warned any future publicity would be considered.

“While it is not up to the court to advise the defendant as to whether a succession of public statements would be in his best interest at this time, it notes that one factor that will be considered in the evaluation of any future request for relief based on pretrial publicity will be the extent to which the publicity was engendered by the defendant himself,” she said.

—Jacqueline Thomsen contributed to this report, which was updated at 4:24 p.m.