Stone heads to court; Mueller cites potential evidence trove

Stone heads to court; Mueller cites potential evidence trove

Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the case was "a criminal proceeding and not a public relations campaign". The judge gave both sides until February 8 to file briefs on whether they would oppose such an order.

Jackson said it was her obligation to make sure he gets one and warned that Stone's public statements about the case could be used against him.

If she does issue a gag order, Stone would no longer be allowed to speak with reporters about his case, nor would prosecutors or any of the other parties.

In an indictment unsealed a week ago, Stone is accused of lying to Congress and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team about his interactions related to WikiLeaks' release of Democratic emails during the 2016 campaign.

In the months he has been under investigation, Stone has given numerous interviews, and has vigorously attacked prosecutors' case as he has sought to raise money for his defense.

Mr Stone, 66, a longstanding ally of the president, has previously vowed to resist any gagging order, saying on Tuesday: "I will fight and the deep state is in panic mode".

A gag order would not be entirely surprising; Jackson issued such a directive during Mueller's prosecution of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, which was a similarly high-profile case.

Mr Mueller is overseeing an investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and whether Donald Trump's campaign conspired with Moscow.

"I testified truthfully on any matter of importance", he said.

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What has Roger Stone said?

At a court hearing in Washington on Friday, Judge Jackson cited a number of "extrajudicial statements by the defendant".

In a court filing Thursday, prosecutors with Mueller's office said the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized physical devices from his home, apartment and office.

Stone served as an adviser to Trump for years before he ran for president.

Stone is free on a $250,000 personal recognisance bond on the condition that he not possess or apply for a passport and not travel outside southern Florida, the Washington area and New York City.

The indictment accused Stone of telling unidentified members of Trump's 2016 campaign team he had advance knowledge of plans by the WikiLeaks website to release damaging e-mails - stolen by Russian Federation, according to prosecutors - about Trump's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

A long-time friend of Donald Trump, Roger Stone has worked on Republican political campaigns since the 1970s and is a self-proclaimed "dirty trickster".

In a phone interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on his radio programme Infowars, Mr Stone said he meant to "fight for my life". He has said that he had no advance knowledge of what material WikiLeaks held and that predictions he made about the group's plans were based on Assange's public comments and tips from associates.

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