Self-anointed political dirty trickster Roger Stone will have to tread carefully as he prepares to defend against charges of obstructing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and lying about his communications with WikiLeaks.
The no-nonsense judge assigned Stone’s case has already demonstrated that she’s got little patience for defendants who misbehave. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued a gag order on Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and later revoked his bail and threw him in jail.
“This is not middle school,” Jackson told Manafort’s lawyers before ordering him locked up in June for alleged witness tampering. “I can’t take his cellphone.”
She also reprimanded Manafort’s lead attorney Kevin Downing for a sidewalk speech he gave after his client’s arraignment and soon after issued a gag order barring parties from discussing the case with the press.
That kind of self-restraint could present a challenge for Stone, who is accustomed to speaking his mind. Shortly after appearing in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, court Friday, Stone addressed a crowd of reporters, fans and detractors, proclaiming the charges against him were politically motivated and declaring his innocence. He also promised to appear on television later Friday.
Jackson was nominated in 2011 to serve on the federal court in Washington by President Barack Obama. A Baltimore native, born in 1954, she’d been both a federal prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer.
Presiding over the Manafort case since his October 2017 indictment, Jackson has presented herself as tough, fair and keenly aware of the public interest in the case.
Stone’s first appearance before Jackson has not yet been scheduled. Reports Bloomberg