On Friday, a federal judge imposed limits on what long-time confidant Donald Trump, Roger Stone, and his lawyers can say publicly about his criminal case brought by the special investigating lawyer on Russia.
The American judge, Amy Berman Jackson, however, did not prohibit publicly prohibiting public statements of the politician, but issued a restrictive order that, in her opinion, was necessary to guarantee Stone's right to a fair trial. to preserve dignity and justice ". gravity of the courthouse and the present proceedings ".
Mueller's team also confirmed Friday in court that investigators had evidence of Stone's communication with WikiLeaks and Stone and Guccifer 2.0, who claimed to be a Romanian hacker responsible for trespassing, but who authorities said was actually a Russian agent.
Mueller did not provide details on the communications, although last year the Atlantic published direct messages between Stone and WikiLeaks, including a message in which WikiLeaks appeared to blame Stone for suggesting in his public comments an association with the organization.
The publicized messages were exchanged after WikiLeaks started publishing the hacked items, and they do not show Stone the coordination with the anti-secret group. Stone is not accused of directly coordinating the publication with WikiLeaks.
Friday's order forbids Stone to comment on his pending case near the courthouse, but that does not prevent him from making further public statements about his case. This usually prevents lawyers, prosecutors and witnesses from making public comments that could "constitute a substantial likelihood" of harming potential jurors.
Jackson's order also follows a series of media appearances by the political consultant seeking attention since his indictment and arrest last month. In several of these interviews, Stone had criticized the special advocate Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the elections, motivating her for political reasons, and had criticized the case for only "process crimes". ".
Jackson had cited these appearances in the media evoking the prospect of a gag order, warning Stone at an audience not to treat his case as a "book tour".
Lawyers for Stone argued that any limitation of its public comment would undermine its right to freedom of expression under the first amendment. Last week, they wrote in a file that Stone's comments did not deserve a "clear and real danger to a fair trial". Mueller's attorneys had stated that they would not oppose a gag order.
In her order, Ms. Jackson stated that she considered not only the potential impact of public comment on jurors, but also the need to maintain order at the federal courthouse in Washington.
Citing the "size and voice" of the crowds already attracted by Stone's lawsuits, Jackson banned Stone, lawyers and witnesses from making statements to the media as he entered and exited the courthouse.
Jackson left open the possibility that she could alter the order in the future and reminded Stone that he was not allowed to contact witnesses at the same time. case. She also stated that if Stone complained of pre-trial advertising at a later date, she would consider whether he had brought it himself.
Stone, 66, was arrested last month during an FBI-organized raid at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He pleaded not guilty to having lied to Congress, obstruction and falsification of witnesses. The charges stem from conversations he had in the 2016 elections on WikiLeaks, the anti-secret group that published stolen material to Democratic groups, including Hillary Clinton's campaign.
US intelligence agencies said Russia was behind the pirated material, and last year Mueller accused 12 Russian intelligence officers of piracy. But Stone is not accused of coordinating directly with WikiLeaks.
Since his arrest, Stone has declared his innocence at a press conference following his court appearance in Florida and charged Mueller with heavy tactics by arresting him during a raid on his home. at dawn.
He was more discreet in the Washington court, although he held a press conference, accompanied by an animator of the website The Conspiracy The Conspiracy (InfoWars), in which he said he would respect any gag order. published by the judge but would also expect to appeal. Among his lawyers is a first amendment lawyer who represented the rap group 2 Live Crew in a court for obscenities about 30 years ago.
He claimed not to have any negative information about the president to share with Mueller and insisted that he had done nothing wrong.
"I am not accused of Russian collusion, I am not accused of collaboration with WikiLeaks, I am not accused of conspiracy," Stone said. "There is no evidence or charge that I know in advance the source or content of the WikiLeaks material."