This will definitely take the wind out of the Dirty Trickster’s sails.
JUST IN: Judge restricts what lawyers/parties in the Roger Stone case can say to the media. pic.twitter.com/YRKTs4ZAKt
— Matt Zapotosky (@mattzap) February 15, 2019
Stone was having a great time doing his usual grandstanding prior to this. He secluded himself in an undisclosed location recently, saying that he ”didn’t want to get Jack Ruby-ed.” He was giving interviews and being Roger Stone. Now all that has ground to a halt. If Stone violates the gag order, he will be in contempt of of court, and subject to fines and incarceration.
Former Scooter Libby prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg called the Stone case, “as close to a slam-dunk case as a prosecutor will ever bring.” Daily Beast:
“As someone who prosecuted Scooter Libby and others on similar charges and defended white-collar cases involving similar charges as those alleged here—false statements, obstruction of justice and witness tampering—my takeaway is that Stone should begin getting his affairs in order,” the attorney wrote. “Barring a presidential pardon (always the wild-card possibility with a POTUS like Trump) Stone will be convicted and receive a very substantial prison sentence.”
“Defendants can plausibly argue that either they did not understand the agents’ questions, or the agents either did not understand or did not memorialize their response accurately….But that won’t work for Stone, because the entire congressional hearing was transcribed, verbatim. The questions, and the answers, were under oath and were not at all ambiguous or open to interpretation.”
“Unfortunately for Stone, and what makes fighting this case futile, is that the government will not need to rely on the credibility of any individuals to make its case. The email and text evidence laid out in excruciating detail in the indictment is not open to interpretation,” he detailed. “And if that were not enough—and believe me, it is—the case will be tried in D.C. There is a facile critique that liberals are soft on crime. That can be true where the defendants are perceived to be from a disadvantaged minority. But have pity on an arrogant, white-collar defendant who is in cahoots with a despised Republican president; you will witness righteous fury. The venire in D.C. reviles Trump, and they will find Stone loathsome. The only contentiousness will be during jury selection, as the potential jurors all fight to be chosen so they can “do justice.”
The day Stone was arrested he crowed, “There is no circumstance where I would testify against the president because I would have to bear false witness against him. I’d have to make things up.” He may not need to worry. Zeidenberg thinks that Mueller doesn’t want him.
Finally, do not expect to see Special Counsel Robert Mueller make any attempt to flip Stone and have him cooperate. A defendant like Stone is far more trouble than he is worth to a prosecutor. Stone is too untrustworthy for a prosecutor to ever rely upon. He has told so many documented lies, and bragged so often about his dirty tricks, that he simply has too much baggage to deal with even if here to want to cooperate—which seems unlikely in any event. Mueller, I suspect, would not even be willing to engage in a preliminary debrief with Stone to just test the possibility of cooperation out of concern that Stone would immediately go on television with his pals at Fox News to decry Mueller’s Gestapo tactics.
Stone loves being the center of attention, but the gag order has effectively curtailed his theatricality. Stone has been autographing “Roger” stones and sending them to people who contribute to his legal defense fund. On these facts, he’d best get the jackhammer and the postage stamps out, because he’s going to need to generate a lot of legal fees to get out of the mess he’s in.
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