Political operative and Trump confidant Roger Stone, plus his attorneys, have been hit with a gag order by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson. Stone and his team had already been warned such a measure might be taken and were given an opportunity to argue why there shouldn’t be a gag order in this case.
Instead, Stone and his attorneys tried to get Judge Jackson off the case and accused special counsel Robert Mueller et al. of leaking to the press. Stone and his team also claimed he shouldn’t be gagged because it’s not like he’s Kim Kardashian.
Needless to say, these arguments did not hold water.
Judge Jackson on Friday said that she was ordering the parties and witness not to make statements to the media or in public that may materially prejudice the case “in order to safeguard the defendant’s right to a fair trial; to ensure that the Court has the ability to seat a jury that has not been tainted by pretrial publicity; to maintain the dignity and seriousness of the courthouse and these proceedings; and to protect the safety and security of parties, witnesses, jurors, attorneys, court personnel, and members of the public seeking access to the building to conduct court business and attend these and other public proceedings.”
“All interested participants in the matter, including the parties, any potential witnesses, and counsel for the parties and the witnesses, must refrain, when they are entering or exiting the courthouse, or they are within the immediate vicinity of the courthouse, from making statements to the media or to the public that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case or are intended to influence any juror, potential juror, judge, witness or court officer or interfere with the administration of justice,” Jackson continued.
The judge would add that this “order may be amended in the future […] if necessary.”
Jackson indicated that the “vociferousness” of crowds gathering outside of the courthouse played a role in her decision making to maintain order and fairness.
“In addition, the Court has particular concerns about the potential impact of public statements made in the District of Columbia, directed at individuals who may be members of the venire from which the jury will be drawn,” Jackson said. “And, in light of the size and vociferousness of the crowds that have already been attracted to these proceedings, and the risk that public pronouncements by the participants may inflame those gatherings, the Court is persuaded that a narrowly tailored order governing the conduct of participants in the matter while they are at the courthouse is necessary to advance the Court’s legitimate interest in maintaining the order an decorum that is essential to court proceedings and the fair administration of justice.”
As we mentioned in the opening, Judge Jackson previously reminded Stone that the case is “a criminal proceeding and not a public relations campaign,” or “a book tour.” She was weighing Stone’s right to tell his side versus allowing what might be called a “carnival atmosphere” to develop. Stone is, after all, charged for obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and for making multiple false statements to investigators. Jackson, it should be mentioned, also issued a gag order in the Paul Manafort case.
You can read Jackson’s gag order in full below.
Stone Gag Order Ruling by on Scribd
[Image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]
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