Nearly a week after being scolded from the bench, Roger Stone and his attorneys are again on the receiving end of a federal judge’s wrath, this time for the re-publication of a book they failed to disclose to the court.
In an order issued Tuesday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson scolded Stone and his legal team for their delay in notifying the court that the former adviser to President Donald Trump planned to re-publish and sell a book with a new introduction critical of the special counsel, despite a gag order that prohibits him from making any public statements about the investigation.
Jackson declined a request from Stone’s attorneys for a clarification of the gag order she issued Feb. 21, and set a March 11 deadline for them to provide details on “unexplained inconsistencies” in their filings. Those details include questions about when the book became publicly available, when it was shipped to the printer, plus information on any communication Stone had with the publisher after the gag order was issued, and details on the content of any social media posts or public statements about the book. The order would also apply to any deleted social media posts.
“[T]here is no question that the order prohibited and continues to prohibit the defendant from making any public statements, using any medium, concerning the investigation,” Jackson wrote Tuesday. “It does not matter when the defendant may have first formulated the opinions expressed, or when he first put them into words: he may no longer share his views on these particular subjects with the world.”
Jackson first issued an order Friday directing Stone’s legal team to file a submission detailing when his book, “The Myth of Russian Collusion: The Inside Story of How Donald Trump REALLY Won,” will be released, and to explain why it was not brought to the court’s attention during prior hearings or filings. The order notes that during a Feb. 21 hearing regarding a gag order, Stone’s attorneys said: “[H]e should not be talking about this court. He should not be talking about the special prosecutor.”
Jackson also criticized Stone’s legal team for inconsistencies in its filings to the court. A footnote in the order said the fact that a new introduction was sent to the publisher in January and scheduled for release in February “was not simply omitted from the defendant’s February 8 pleading; it was entirely inconsistent with the assurances that were included in the pleading.”
Stone is represented by Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based attorneys Bruce Rogow and Grant Smith of StrategySmith, and Robert Buschel of Buschel & Gibbons. He also has a Washington, D.C.-based attorney, L. Peter Farkas of Halloran Farkas + Kittila.
Jackson added that Stone may have waived any right to complain his free speech rights are being restricted since his counsel specifically proposed the order bar speech about the prosecution.
Robert Mueller’s team, which is investigating Stone’s role in the Russia election interference probe, said in a court filing Monday that a preview of the book with the new intro is already available online, and that Stone shared an image on Instagram over the weekend titled “Who framed Roger Stone?”
Stone is fighting charges that he lied to congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, obstructed justice and tampered with a witness. Those charges were brought by prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller III and the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., Jessie Liu. Their offices are jointly handling Stone’s case.
The latest filings come after Stone was recently upbraided by Jackson for using Instagram to post a photo that featured a crosshair next to an image of her head.
Jackson decided not to revoke Stone’s $250,000 bond during a Feb. 21 hearing and instead expanded her gag order to bar Stone from publicly speaking about the investigation, the case or any of the participants. Stone was also prohibited from participating in interviews, press conferences or releases.
Prior to that order, Stone was just prohibited from speaking to the media near the courthouse.
Jackson said it was apparent Stone’s legal team was behind an apology submitted to the court in the wake of the Instagram post, given Stone continued to defend it in press interviews, even after the post was deleted.
“So, thank you,” Jackson said, “but the apology rings quite hollow.”
Read the order