Roger Stone, a sometime adviser to President Donald Trump, faces a Nov. 5 trial on charges he lied to Congress about communications with WikiLeaks, tampered with witnesses and obstructed an investigation.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson set the date during a federal court hearing in Washington on Thursday. She set aside whether the longtime Republican political operative and self-described dirty trickster violated her order barring him from talking about the case in any media or on any platform.
The latest flash point occurred two weeks ago when defense lawyers belatedly told Jackson that their client’s introduction to a re-released political tome may have violated its terms by criticizing the work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Pressed for clarification, they said in a March 11 filing that raising the issue at a previous hearing would have been awkward, a term that didn’t sit well with the judge.
“There is no exception for ‘awkward,’” Jackson told Stone’s attorneys. The judge, who tacked on another 3½ years to the prison sentence of Stone’s former business partner Paul Manafort on Wednesday, said she’d not yet studied the entirety of their 127-page March 11 submission. Jackson said she’d taken the matter under advisement and might revisit the issue of the gag order.
Separately, prosecutor Jeannie Rhee told the court that Mueller’s office has turned over nine terabytes of information — a volume that defense attorney Robert Buschel said, if piled up, would be “as high as the Washington Monument, twice.” The monument is 555 feet tall.
Jackson gave the defense until April 12 to file a motion to dismiss the case and until May 10 to ask her to suppress any evidence. The parties are due back in court on April 30. Stone has denied the charges against him.
The case is U.S. v. Stone, 19-cr-18, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).