Roger Stone, a longtime ally and confidant to President Donald Trump, pleaded not guilty in Washington federal court Tuesday, accompanied by his out-of-state attorneys after an initial hiccup in court filings raised uncertainty about his representation.
The Republican operative appeared with Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based attorneys Robert Buschel of Buschel & Gibbons and Grant Smith of StrategySmith after a magistrate judge twice said Monday that they failed to follow local rules to appear. Stone was also joined by D.C.-based lawyer L. Peter Farkas of Halloran Farkas + Kittila.
Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson first issued an order Monday morning stating that Buschel and Smith had failed to file motions to appear pro hac vice signed by a sponsoring member of the D.C. Bar. In a subsequent order denying the pro hac vice motion filed later Monday, Robinson noted that Farkas, whose name appeared on the signature lines of the motions, did not file the motions and had not filed a notice of appearance.
Robinson’s order noted the attorneys had until 9 a.m. Tuesday to comply with local rules. Farkas’ notice of appearance showed up on the docket just before 10:30 a.m.
Buschel entered the not guilty plea on Stone’s behalf Tuesday, and Robinson set a status hearing for Feb. 1.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who was assigned Stone’s case, will preside over that hearing. She also oversees the case of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. In another case brought by the special counsel, Jackson sentenced former Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom associate Alex van der Zwaan to a month after he admitted to lying to federal investigators.
Michael Marando, a prosecutor from the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C., said Tuesday both parties would ask the court to designate Stone’s case as complex and seek a protective order for discovery.
The arraignment came after a federal grand jury in Washington returned a seven-count indictment against Stone on Thursday. Stone—who was arrested the next day in Florida and subsequently released on $250,000 bail—vowed to fight the charges in a trial.
The special counsel has accused Stone of lying and attempting to obstruct the House Intelligence Committee investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and attempting to pressure a witness to lie to the panel. Those alleged lies center around Stone’s contact with the group WikiLeaks during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, when the anti-secrecy organization released thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and the chairman of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Prosecutors believe top Trump campaign officials instructed Stone to contact Wikileaks in the summer of 2016 to seek information about future email releases.