Washington: The media circus surrounding Roger Stone can continue, but not on the courthouse steps, a federal judge ruled Friday.
Stone, the flamboyant political consultant and longtime adviser to President Donald Trump, is charged with obstruction and lying to Congress about his efforts to coordinate with WikiLeaks to aid President Donald Trump’s campaign. He’s been at the center of a media whirlwind ever since, protesting his innocence and denouncing prosecutors on social media and television.
Even his early-morning arrest was broadcast by CNN.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson had told Stone she was considering imposing a gag order in the case, and warned him that he shouldn’t treat the criminal charges against him like a “book tour.”
Jackson stopped short of silencing Stone on Friday. Instead, she said lawyers and witnesses in the case may not make public statements “that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to the case.” But she said others, including Stone, must refrain from those statements near the courthouse that could influence jurors or witnesses.
So far, Stone has had little to say coming or going from court appearances in Washington, where he has been greeted by a crush of protesters and a few supporters. But he’s had a lot to say about the charges against him in television interviews and on social media.
“It is not up to the Court to advise the defendant as to whether a succession of public statements would be in his best interest,” Jackson wrote, a suggestion that they probably aren’t.