U.S. judge expected to address whether ex-Trump adviser Stone violated gag order


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s former adviser, Roger Stone, will appear in federal court on Tuesday and the judge is likely to decide whether to revoke his bond after prosecutors alleged Stone violated a gag order by discussing his case on social media.

FILE PHOTO – Roger Stone, longtime political ally of U.S. President Donald Trump, waves as he arrives for a status hearing in the criminal case against him brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Tuesday’s hearing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia was originally scheduled as a routine event ahead of Stone’s November criminal trial for his lawyers to present arguments for why certain evidence should be suppressed or turned over by the government.

However, questions of Stone’s compliance with the gag order are now likely to loom over the hearing, after prosecutors in June accused the self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” of defying Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s orders by posting comments on Instagram about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“Stone’s posts appear calculated to generate media coverage of information that is not relevant to this case but that could prejudice potential jurors,” they wrote, in reference to posts Stone made citing articles that questioned whether Russia actually hacked Democratic Party computer servers in the 2016 presidential election.

Stone then tagged several mainstream media outlets and asked why they were not covering the story.

Stone’s lawyers have argued that Stone did not violate the order and said prosecutors were seeking a “disproportionate response to Roger Stone’s exercise of his First Amendment rights.”

Stone’s posts, they added, “are not ‘statements’” and will not “pose a danger” to having a fair trial.

Jackson in February ordered Stone to stop speaking publicly about the case after he posted what appeared to be a threatening photo of her next to the image of gun crosshairs on his Instagram account.

In that hearing Stone tried to apologize, saying the posting was not intended as a threat.

But a visibly angry Jackson said his apology “rings quite hollow” and warned him he would not have a second chance if he failed to abide by her order.

Stone’s lawyers are also expected on Tuesday to present arguments on their other pending motions.

They want Jackson to suppress evidence from 18 warrants, saying the warrants are illegal because they were premised on “assumptions” that the Russian government hacked computers of the Democratic National Committee.

The lawyers also allege that the government improperly relied on findings by Crowdstrike, a private firm hired by the DNC, to link the hacking to the Russians.

They also are seeking a copy of the unredacted Crowdstrike report, as well as an unredacted copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Dan Grebler



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