Judge sets Roger Stone trial for early November

Judge sets Roger Stone trial for early November
© Stefani Reynolds

The federal judge presiding over Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneJudge finds Stone violated gag order, blocks him from using social media Counterprotesters outnumber far-right extremists at DC rally Judge orders Roger Stone to file rebuttal to allegation he violated gag order MORE’s criminal case has scheduled his trial to begin on Nov. 5.

With jury selection, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Thursday that the court is looking at a two-week trial on the seven charges stemming from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

Attorneys with Mueller’s office, which is jointly prosecuting the case with the U.S. attorney's office in D.C., told the court last month that it expects it will take five to eight days for the government to present its case at trial against the longtime GOP operative and associate of President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE.

ADVERTISEMENT

In a status conference Thursday, Jackson said she doesn’t know at this point whether the defense will call any witnesses, but with time needed to select a jury, she said she expects the trial to take at least two weeks.

Stone was arrested on Jan. 25 on charges of obstructing a congressional inquiry, witness tampering and making false statements. He has pleaded not guilty.

Jeannie Rhee, a prosecutor on Mueller’s team, said the government has turned over approximately nine terabytes of potential evidence to Stone’s defense team for review.

Stone attorney Robert Buschel gave the court a visual of how many exhibits are part of the discovery, stating that they could pile the papers as high as the Washington Monument — twice.

Jackson on Thursday said she’s still considering the issue of whether Stone violated her gag order by re-releasing a book he published in 2016 with a new introduction that’s critical of the Mueller probe.

Stone’s defense team was scolded in an order earlier this month for failing to inform the court that the book, now titled “The Myth of Russian Collusion,” was coming out, despite having had multiple opportunities to do so before and during the Feb. 21 hearing in which Jackson barred Stone from talking publicly about his case or Mueller’s investigation.

Jackson accused Stone’s attorneys of using court filings to try to drum up publicity for the book. The defense first told the court about the book on March 1 when they asked Jackson to clarify her gag order.

In that request, they told Jackson the book’s release was “imminent,” but it was revealed later that the books were already on the market.

Stone’s attorneys argued on March 11 that they didn’t recognize that the new introduction to the book would be a problem until after Jackson issued her order on Feb. 21.

“Even if it had crossed counsel’s mind to raise the new introduction (and it did not), it seems a bit awkward to have sought to introduce the New Introduction at that very moment during argument,” they said.

But Jackson told the defense in court Thursday that the last thing they should worry about is having an “uncomfortable experience” in court.

“There’s no exception for awkward,” she said.

Stone’s attorneys also said in their March 11 filing that Stone does not have any recollection of the exact time he knew the books were available at bookstores, or for purchase or viewing online. The lawyers added that their March 1 request for clarity on the gag order “was not ‘intended to serve as a means to generate additional publicity for the book.’”

But during Thursday’s hearing the government pointed to evidence that they say appears to contradict that claim.

Updated 11:47 a.m.