More than any other figure indicted by Robert Mueller so far Roger Stone loves to talk to the press. Like his longtime friend Donald Trump, Stone loves to be the center of attention. So one of his biggest fears is that the judge in his case — Amy Berman Jackson — will issue a gag order prohibiting him from discussing his case publicly or talking to the media.
But if Jackson does issue such a gag order (which is likely, considering that she has done it before, to Paul Manafort and Rick Gates) Stone has a plan to allow him to get around it. The fact that he has such a plan shows that his highest priority is getting publicity for his “cause” which appears to be creating chaos in America.
Gag orders are not something that defense attorneys like to deal with, as pointed out by CNN legal analyst Mark Geragos, who tweeted:
“Such gag orders are often more of a burden on the defense than the prosecution, since prosecutors typically issue a press release or hold a press conference to announce the charges and then go mum about the case — at least officially.”
Such gag orders are often more of a burden on the defense than the prosecution, since prosecutors typically issue a press release or hold a press conference to announce the charges and then go mum about the case — at least officially – https://t.co/oKDwwfyOHS via @politico
— Mark Geragos (@markgeragos) January 30, 2019
There is no question that both Stone and his lawyers would definitely see a gag order as “a burden.” And that is why Stone has added to his legal team one of the nation’s top First Amendment attorneys. He has also designated a pair of close friends as spokesmen in the event he and his lawyers are ordered to stop talking to the press.
The issue will probably come up Friday when Stone is scheduled to appear for his first hearing before Jackson with respect to Mueller’s charges that he lied to Congress and obstructed the House’s investigation into Russian election meddling.
Already the judge has a huge amount of media coverage to look at when deciding what to do going forward. Since his arrest last Friday, Stone has been on a media blitz. He’s discussed his legal defense plans during a series of interviews with the major television and cable networks, as well as in impromptu press conferences outside his South Florida home. He has been complaining nonstop that he was the subject of a “lynching” by Mueller, who he accused of using “Gestapo tactics” in his arrest.
He has also been sending out emails complaining about his arrest, and asking for money to pay for his defense.
On Instagram, Stone has posted 30 times about his indictment, including a doctored image Robert Mueller in a waiter’s outfit holding up a tray topped with an empty hamburger bun. “Here’s what Mueller has on me #nothingburger” Stone wrote.
Michael Caputo, one of the Stone friends who has been designated to act as a spokesman if Stone gets gagged, said:
‘It’s always been Roger’s intention to maintain his First Amendment rights throughout the process.”
But during Stone’s arraignment yesterday judge Deborah Robinson issued a warning, saying that he should not talk about the charges against him in the indictment. “Any statements you make may be used against you,” Robinson said.
But Roger Stone has no intentions of keeping quiet.
“No gag order! I will fight and the deep state is in panic mode! Onward,” he wrote in an Instagram post yesterday.
But many legal experts expect Stone to get a rude awakening before Judge Jackson on Friday. She is a no-nonsense judge who reacts harshly to what she perceives as showboating.
During a Paul Manafort hearing she was quoted as saying:
“This is a criminal trial, and it’s not a public relations campaign. I expect counsel to do their talking in this courtroom and in their pleadings and not on the courthouse steps.”
Roger Stone views himself as an irresistible force, but in Judge Jackson he may have met an immovable object. When they do battle, it’s not clear what the outcome will be, but one thing is for sure: Roger Stone will do everything he can to make it interesting, to generate as much publicity as possible, and to make his legal proceedings into a giant public spectacle.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.