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Roger Stone acknowledges possibility of gag order

Roger Stone acknowledges possibility of gag order

Roger Stone, a longtime associate of President Trump, acknowledged on Thursday the possibility that the federal judge overseeing his criminal case could issue a gag order as soon as Friday limiting his public comments.
“That’s certainly a possibility,” Stone said when asked about a potential gag order at a press conference Thursday afternoon in Washington, D.C. “We’ll deal with that when it comes. I would point out that I make a leaving writing and speaking about politics. I would hope that the court would take that into consideration.”
Stone also suggested he would fight the order if Judge Amy Berman Jackson issues one.
“Obviously, I will adhere to any ruling of the court, if they should do that,” Stone told reporters. “On the other hand, I would also have the right, as I understand it, to appeal.”
“So, let’s see what happens,” Stone added.
Stone was indicted last week on seven charges in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.
He faces five charges of lying to Congress about his interactions regarding WikiLeaks, the organization that leaked troves of hacked Democratic emails before the election; one charge of witness tampering; and one charge of obstructing an official proceeding, specifically the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation. Stone pleaded not guilty to the charges in an initial court appearance on Tuesday.
Stone staged the press conference at the JW Marriott in downtown Washington Thursday afternoon, one day before a scheduled court appearance before Judge Jackson, an Obama appointee who is also overseeing former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s criminal case in D.C.
Stone has embarked on a media tour since the FBI raided his Florida home and arrested him early Friday morning, appearing on major networks to declare his innocence and accuse federal officials of employing “gestapo tactics” in arresting him. The special counsel had asked that his indictment remain sealed until his apprehension, citing the possibility Stone could flee the scene or destroy evidence.
Such public comments are unusual for a defendant on the verge of a criminal trial.
Jackson previously issued a gag order in the case involving Manafort and his former business partner Rick Gates, who has also been ensnared in the special counsel’s investigation. The order set limits on their comments to the media and public, as well as the statements of their defense attorneys.
Stone spoke to reporters and fielded questions for roughly a half hour Thursday. He declined to say whether he plans to testify at his trial, calling a decision on the prospect “wildly premature.”
Stone also again did not rule out eventually striking a deal to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation, but repeated that he would not “bear false witness” against Trump and that he had no knowledge of wrongdoing by the president.
“This is a question that I will ultimately have to refer to my lawyers, ultimately,” Stone said. “All I can tell you today is I will tell the truth about any matter that I have knowledge of.”
“I don’t possess any knowledge of any wrongdoing by the president of the United States, including Russian collusion,” Stone added. “I will not make up stories. I will not bear false witness. I will not say things that are not true. I will tell the truth.”
Stone also said he had not spoken to Trump, who he has known for several decades, “in some time” on the advice of his attorneys.
“Based on the advance on his lawyers and my lawyers, we have not spoken in some time,” Stone said. “But I have great affection for the president and his family.”
Stone also denied ever discussing a pardon with Trump or anyone working for the president.
Stone has denied there was any conspiracy involving himself, the Trump campaign, WikiLeaks or the Russian government. He maintains that the public statements he made about WikiLeaks’ forthcoming releases before the election were based on publicly available information and a tip from an associate; he says he had no inside information about the releases.
“I did not coordinate anything with the Trump campaign pertaining to WikiLeaks,” Stone said Thursday.
The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that the emails released by WikiLeaks were stolen by Russian military hackers as part of a broader plot to interfere in the election.
Mueller has been investigating Russian interference and potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow for roughly 20 months, amid constant attacks from Trump, who views the probe as a partisan “witch hunt.”