Roger Stone’s defense attorneys scrambled in the days after they decided a new “problematic” introduction to the former Trump adviser’s book could land him in jail for potentially violating a gag order in his criminal case.
Stone was in legal hot water before his attorneys notified U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson that their client would be re-releasing his 2017 book. The release includes a fresh introduction criticizing special counsel Robert Mueller III, whose office brought the criminal charges against Stone.
Email exchanges included in court papers filed Monday night detailing a frenzied defense effort to get information from publishers on when the book was sent to stores, when it would be publicly released and how it fit into the broader picture after Jackson issued the order prohibiting their client from speaking publicly about his case.
“The mere publication of the new portions of the book could land Roger in jail for contempt of the judge’s order. We are trying to establish data points and provide legal advice,” Grant Smith, one of Stone’s attorneys, told a publisher in a Feb. 26 email. “I can not give you more information without violating the attorney-client relationship at the moment.”
“I need this immediately. This is not a some made up emergency,” the Fort Lauderdale attorney added.
In a Feb. 21 email exchange among members of Stone’s legal team, Fort Lauderdale attorney Bruce Rogow deemed a potion of the introduction “problematic” and floated the idea of asking the publisher to black out the pages.
Stone is represented by Smith of StrategySmith, Rogow and Tara Campion or Rogow’s firm, Robert Buschel of Buschel & Gibbons in Fort Lauderdale and L. Peter Farkas of Halloran Farkas + Kittila in Washington.
The emails revealing how Stone’s book sent his attorneys into a mad dash are part of a defense filing after Jackson ordered them to detail their client’s efforts to comply with the gag order she issued Feb. 21.
Stone’s lawyers notified the Washington judge earlier this month about the “imminent” re-release of Stone’s book with the new introduction, which calls special counsel Robert Mueller III “crooked.” Stone’s attorneys asked the court to “clarify” that the book’s re-release would not violate the order because the introduction was written before the order was issued.
Jackson last week denied that motion and scolding Stone and his legal team for not immediately notifying her about the book, which was already on sale and the introduction was accessible online, Jackson ordered Stone’s attorneys to explain the discrepancy and produce records on the re-issued book.
In their latest court filing, Stone’s attorneys apologized for the “confusing representation about publication.” They said the new introduction was sent to publishers in January for a February release.
They told Jackson they did not intend to mislead her by not flagging the book earlier. They said they only read the revised introduction after Stone’s gag order hearing, specifically while they waiting to catch a plane back to Florida.
Stone earlier got into trouble with the court after posting a photo on Instagram showing Jackson’s head next to what appeared to be crosshairs. That resulted in Jackson issuing the gag order that barred Stone from publicly discussing the case.
Stone has pleaded not guilty to charges that he lied to congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, obstructed justice and tampered with a witness. A status conference is scheduled for Thursday.