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Roger Stone Really Doesn’t Want Manafort Judge to Preside Over His Case (Also His Middle Name Isn’t Jason)


Roger Stone, a long time friend of President Donald Trump and associate of Paul Manafort, really doesn’t want U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to preside over his criminal case in Washington, D.C., a Friday court filing reveals.

Exactly a week after Judge Berman Jackson told Stone she was considering a gag order in the case and reminded him he is not on a “book tour,” Stone has fired back by requesting that the case be randomly reassigned. The reason he gives is quite interesting.

He doesn’t want the case to be seen as related to United States of America v. Netyksho. What is this case? NBD, it’s just Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s case against Russian military officers posing as the “fictitious persona” Guccifer 2.0. who allegedly hacked the DNC in 2016 and forwarded materials to WikiLeaks to influence the U.S. election.

“At first blush and without the benefit of discovery, there is nothing about these cases that suggests they are suitably related, other than they are both brought by the Office of Special Counsel,” Stone’s defense argues. “The notice served on defense counsel requires an objection to the designation be filed within ten days of the arraignment. As a result of this constraint of a timely objection, the government should be required to disclose all evidence and reasoning used to support its requested designation since the goal of the local rule is to safeguard the honor of the district court and protect the rights of defendants like Roger Stone.”

“An analysis of the allegedly ‘related’ indictments clearly demonstrates there is no nexus of any kind between the two cases,” they continue. “Consequently, Defendant Stone objects to the designation and requests that he be accorded the same constitutionally guaranteed due process rights and protections afforded to all criminal defendants, and that he be randomly assigned a district judge as dictated under the local rules.”

Stone was charged with seven counts including obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of making false statements, and one count of witness tampering. The witness he’s accused of tampering with and the statements he’s accused of lying about happen to involve WikiLeaks, which was the recipient of the documents allegedly hacked by Russian military intelligence.

Stone’s defense believes there isn’t enough of a link here, despite the lies Stone is accused of telling.

“The Netyksho case alleges a theft not involving Mr. Stone, who, instead is alleged to have lied about issues unrelated to the actions taken by the Netyksho defendants,” they say. “These two cases are not likely to arise from a common wiretap, search warrant, or activities that are part of the same alleged criminal event or transaction. They do not even involve the same issues or facts.”

Therefore they want the case to be randomly reassigned.

Of course, Berman Jackson is also presiding over Manafort’s ongoing dispute with the special counsel about a plea agreement breach. Mueller says Manafort lied repeatedly, Manafort says there’s no proof and it didn’t happen. Stone and his lawyers don’t say outright that they don’t want to be linked to Manafort, but it seems likely they would prefer if they weren’t linked to convicted felon/former Trump campaign chairman.

And, as an aside, Stone et. al decided to clear something up about his middle name. It initially appeared in court documents as “Jason.” In a footnote, they wanted everyone to know the following: “Roger Stone’s middle name is Joseph, not Jason.”

Roger Stone attempts to get… on Scribd

[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.