Roger Stone has long feared he would be slapped with a gag order if he got indicted — and he’s readied a plan to make sure he won’t have to stay silent.
The federal judge in Stone’s case, Amy Berman Jackson, has already hushed a coterie of others caught in special counsel Robert Mueller’s dragnet, including Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and their attorneys. They were quieted after one of the lawyers told reporters that Mueller’s case was “ridiculous.”
Jackson will have a much longer record of public commentary from Stone to work with when the longtime Donald Trump associate appears Friday afternoon for his first status hearing tied to the special counsel’s charges that he lied to Congress and obstructed the House investigation into Russian election meddling.
If Stone is gagged, his contingency plan is already in place. He’s got a well-known First Amendment attorney on his legal team who represented the rap group 2 Live Crew against obscenity charges in the early 1990s. And Stone has designated a pair of close friends as spokesmen in the event he and his lawyers are told to stop talking.
Until then, Stone won’t stop chattering.
Since his arrest last Friday, Stone has been on a media blitz. He gave his first interview to the conspiracy theory website InfoWars and then addressed reporters outside the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. He’s discussed his legal defense plans during a series of interviews with the major television and cable networks, as well as inimpromptu press conferences outside his South Florida home. Anyone on Stone’s email list got a message Monday with the subject line “Let’s talk about my arrest” and a plea for “emergency” contributions to help pay his mounting legal bills.
On Instagram, Stone as of Tuesday night had posted 30 times about the indictment, including a mock-up photograph of the special counsel in a waiter outfit holding up a tray topped with an empty hamburger bun. “Here’s what Mueller has on me #nothingburger” Stone wrote.
“It’s always been Roger’s intention to maintain his First Amendment rights throughout the process,” said Michael Caputo, a longtime Stone associate and one of the people who is in position to step up as a spokesman if Stone gets gagged.
During Stone’s arraignment hearing on Tuesday, magistrate judge Deborah Robinson opened with a warning that he’d be wise to not speak about the charges in the indictment. “Any statements you make may be used against you,” she said.
But Grant Smith, one of Stone’s attorneys, said in an interview that Robinson’s comments appeared to him to be pro forma. And on social media, Stone acted as though he is still free to...
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