Roger Stone Files Motion Alleging Special Counsel Released Indictment to CNN in Violation of Court Order
Former Trump adviser Roger Stone filed a motion Wednesday morning asking a U.S. District Court judge in Washington to examine whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office violated a court order by leaking the draft copy of Stone's indictment to CNN.
In the motion, Stone claimed a CNN reporter sent him a copy of the draft indictment 2 1/2 hours before the unsealed indictment was posted on the district court’s electronic docket.
A copy of the unsealed indictment, however, was posted on the Justice Department’s web site nine minutes before Stone received his copy, Bloomberg reported.
Stone was arrested by the FBI on January 25 and charged on seven counts, including five for making false statements to Congress, one for witness tampering, and one for obstruction of a government proceeding. Almost one hour before heavily armed FBI agents raided Stone's house in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., an SUV with a CNN cameraman arrived at the scene and set up shop.
Stone's attorneys allege that CNN obtained the draft indictment from someone in the special counsel’s office hours before it was unsealed by the court.
According to the motion, the clerk’s office “informed counsel for Mr. Stone that the Indictment’s entry into the docket was made on January 25 at 8:55 a.m., more than two-and-a-half hours after the news reporter sent the 'draft' Indictment to counsel, and four hours after the news organization’s camera crew arrived at Mr. Stone’s house to film his arrest on the sealed Indictment.”
The attorneys claim that CNN received "an unfiled, draft copy of the indictment" so they could film his arrest.
“What is not par for the course is that a news crew knew the time and place of the arrest, and was 'staked out' to watch the arrest unfold, having been provided an unfiled, draft copy of the indictment the Court had ordered sealed,” the motion states.
The FBI arrested Roger Stone at 6:06 a.m. on January 25, 2019. At that time the indictment remained subject to the Court’s Order sealing it from public disclosure. At 4:58 a.m. a news crew and truck arrived at Mr. Stone’s residence and set up a camera on the street in front of Mr. Stone’s house, obviously awaiting his arrest. The FBI arrived while the camera crew was on the street. At 6:11 a.m., prior to Mr. or Mrs. Stone calling counsel, a reporter for the same news outlet as the camera crew called counsel and informed him that Mr. Stone had been arrested. At 6:22 a.m., the same reporter sent counsel a text message attaching a draft copy of the still sealed indictment. (See Exhibit 1). The copy of the unsigned indictment provided by the reporter appears to have come from the Special Counsel’s Office. (See Exhibit 2). The reporter offered that the copy had been received from the Special Counsel’s Office.
The Exhibit 2 document claims the metadata on the document came from someone with the initials "AAW."
According to the metadata on the “draft” indictment provided by a reporter while Stone was being arrested, established that it came from an “AAW” author or computer. That a member of the Special Counsel’s office has the initials “AAW,” supports a reasonable inference that that office is responsible for the unlawful public disclosure of a grand jury document sealed by order of the Court.”
AAW is believed to be special counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, a Trump-hating, Hillary-supporting Democrat with a long history of ethics violations.
From the motion:
The “draft” indictment contained no PACER designation across the top of any page. The metadata of the “draft” indictment, which was in PDF (portable document format), indicates that the last “modification” of the document was on January 23, 2019, at 11:04 p.m., “author[ed]” by “AAW” from “Company: JCON,” which appears to be a reference to the Justice Consolidated Office Network. (See Exhibit 3). The metadata does not establish that “AAW” sent the “draft” of the sealed indictment to the reporter who texted it to Mr. Stone’s counsel on January 25, minutes after the arrest. But it does mean that a person with privileged access to a “draft” of Roger Stone’s Indictment, identical to that which had been filed under seal and which was stamped “sealed” in red, with the appropriate PACER markings, had – in violation of the Court’s Order – publicly distributed the Indictment prior to its release from the sealing ordered by the Court.
The motion concludes:
The public release of a grand jury Indictment document sealed by the Court prior to Roger Stone’s arrest, directly and willfully violated a lawful order of the Court and compromised the secrecy of grand jury proceedings in violation of Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The metadata on the “draft” indictment provided by a reporter while Stone was being arrested, established that it came from an “AAW” author or computer. That a member of the Special Counsel’s office has the initials “AAW,” supports a reasonable inference that that office is responsible for the unlawful public disclosure of a grand jury document sealed by order of the Court.
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker was asked about the raid during the House Judiciary Committee hearing last week and said, "It was deeply concerning to me as to how CNN found out about that. I share your concern with the possibility that a media outlet was tipped off to Mr. Stone's either indictment or arrest before... that information was available to the public."
In an interview with The Daily Caller last month, President Trump called the FBI raid “a very, very disappointing scene.”
"I’m speaking for a lot of people that were very disappointed to see that go down that way," Trump said. "To see it happen, where it was on camera, on top of it, that was a very, very disappointing scene."