The Obama appointed judge who has worked against Roger Stone, the political operative and ally to President Donald J. Trump, who has been caught up in legal matters stemming from the bogus “Russian collusion” hoax, continued her pattern of ruling against Stone in a pre-trial hearing Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge of the United States District Court for Washington, D.C. Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Stone’s defense team would not be able to argue about the tactics used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), intelligence agencies, and members of Congress who questioned him and other witnesses in relation to the RussiaGate hoax, according to POLITICO.
Effectively, the ruling means that Stone’s defense team will not be able to ask the witnesses in the trial about the tactics used to elicit information from them, which would likely have been used to imply, or even claim directly, that the investigators overstepped their authority and/or swindled the witnesses into allegedly lying. Jackson has thus restricted the latitude of Stone’s defense.
“We’re not going to try the investigators or the investigation,” she reportedly said.
Stone stands charged with lying to Congress and obstructing the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s 2016 non-dealings with Russia.
The list of witnesses – many of whom were in some way caught up with the investigation – is a high-profile one, and includes former Trump campaign employees Rick Gates, radio talk show host Randy Credico and author and former InfoWars contributor Jerome Corsi.
Stone’s defense attorney even dropped the name of Trump’s former Chief of Staff and Breitbart head Steve Bannon, who would be perhaps the most high-profile witness if called.
“During a pre-trial conference held exactly eight months to the day after special counsel Robert Mueller unsealed Stone’s indictment and FBI agents arrested him in Fort Lauderdale, a defense lawyer for the Republican political consultant signaled there could be a big showdown on the witness stand with former Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon,” POLITICO said.
At this moment, discussion of Bannon’s potential testimony is only speculative, but POLITICO has billed the entire trial as “a true Washington spectacle.”
Jackson did reportedly say that she would offer Stone’s defense team some leeway in probing witnesses about whether they were promised anything in exchange for their testimony.
Two months ago, we reported that Jackson forced Stone off of social media while he waits for his trial, effectively censoring him for a period of months. Prior to that, she had put a gag order in place, preventing Stone from using social media to discuss his trial.
“Federal prosecutors filed a motion last month alleging that Stone had violated the gag order, which blocked him from publicly discussing his case, through several Instagram posts,” The Hill reported at the time. “The posts made reference to public court filings in Stone’s case, and the longtime Republican operative had tagged several media outlets in the images.”
According to POLITICO, Stone will have one more pre-trial hearing.
“Jackson set another session for Nov. 4, the day before jury selection begins, to deal with a range of still unresolved issues over what evidence can be presented at the trial.”
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