In a pair of Friday court filings, lawyers for Roger Stone requested that a new judge be assigned to oversee his case and pledged to fight any attempt to impose a gag order.
Stone’s case for obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering is currently pending before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C. In other special counsel matters brought before her, Jackson has elucidated her clear disapproval for witness grandstanding.
Stone’s attorneys asked that a new judge be “randomly assigned” in the case, disagreeing with the government’s assessment that Stone’s case should be overseen by Jackson as it relates to another case currently before her: Russian intelligence officers hacking of Democratic officials during the 2016 campaign. The U.S. government has said that Stone’s case and the hacking case share a common search warrant and involve “activities which are a part of the same alleged criminal event or transaction.”
Stone’s lawyers countered that his communications about WikiLeaks’ release of the documents hacked from Democratic targets were unrelated to the hacking alleged in the other case.
They allege that the government improperly engaged in “judge shopping” by assigning the case to Jackson, violating Stone’s right to due process.
A subsequent filing refers to a gag order Jackson warned she might impose in the case. Stone has spent the days since his Jan. 25 arrest openly and enthusiastically discussing the case on Fox News and on his Instagram feed.
At a Feb. 1 hearing, Jackson asked Stone and federal prosecutors to file a brief on the issue, saying she wants to ensure the right to a fair trial and avoid tainting any possible jury pool.
Stone opposes the gag order proposal on First Amendment grounds, saying it would be overly vague and broad in its application.
Given that Stone is a “writer and speaker,” his lawyers write, impeding his free speech would risk jeopardizing his “livelihood.”
“With the exception of his occasional commentary on men’s fashion, Mr. Stone’s writing and speaking are exclusively and entirely directed towards political affairs and matters of public import involving the government and its officials,” the filing reads.
Stone’s lawyers note that their client is unique in seeking public attention even as he faces federal charges.
“He has published a half dozen books, many stating controversial viewpoints. He has penned many hundreds of articles and has been the subject of many hundreds more, published in myriad publications,” they write. “Whether it is his pursuit of a posthumous pardon for Marcus Garvey, or the style of his clothes, or the state of the Nation, Roger Stone is a voice.”
As for tainting a prospective jury pool, Stone’s lawyers note that while political junkies may be familiar with him, he boasts far fewer Instagram followers than Kim Kardashian.
Read both filings below.