Judge Hits Stone With Gag Order Banning Remarks In Front Of Courthouse

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U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued a gag order in the Roger Stone case Friday, a move that was anticipated given Stone’s publicity-hungry ways and given that the judge imposed a similar order in the Paul Manafort proceedings.

However her order, as it pertained to Stone, was limited to banning him from commenting about the case in front of the courthouse, where media often gathers before and after proceedings. The ban includes comments “intended to influence any juror, potential juror, judge, witness or court officer or interfere with the administration of justice.”

The lawyers involved in the case, as well as witnesses, are more broadly banned from making public statements that “pose a substantial likelihood” to materially prejudice the case.

Berman Jackson added that “no additional restrictions imposed on the defendant’s public statements or appearances at this time, although this order may be amended in the future consistent” with local court rules.

Stone — who has been charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation for making false statements to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction — had opposed a gag order.

The judge in her order Friday cited a local court rule that allows such orders to ensure that defendants receive “a fair trial by ‘impartial’ jurors.”

However, she also noted the “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.”

She said that her “narrowly tailored order” was “necessary to advance the Court’s legitimate interest in maintaining the order and decorum that is essential to court proceedings and the fair administration of justice.”

She closed her order with a warning to Stone himself that his own media-loving ways may be considered if he tries to later request any relief based on the pretrial publicity.

“Finally, while 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 at this time, it notes that one factor that will be considered in the evaluation of any future request for relief based on pretrial publicity will be the extent to which the publicity was engendered by the defendant himself,” she said.

Read the full order below:

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