Longtime Trump confidant and political trickster Roger Stone has been busy raising money for his legal defense against obstruction charges brought forth by special counsel Robert Mueller. Now, his legal team is fighting back with a new filing trying to get the charges against him dismissed — in a rather creative fashion.
One takeaway from the new filing? Stone, like everyone else in the country, wants to see the full, unredacted version of the Mueller report.
Stone is facing charges ranging from lying to Congress to witness tampering after prosecutors say he tried to cover up details surrounding what he knew about Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails, which were hacked by Russian operatives and disseminated through WikiLeaks. (John Podesta is a founder of the Center for American Progress. ThinkProgress is an editorially independent news site housed at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.)
Stone has pleaded not guilty and vowed to fight the charges, and claims the case has destroyed him financially. He has since launched a legal defense fund and started hawking t-shirts on his website that proclaim “Roger Stone Did Nothing Wrong!” so that he and his supporters can, as his website states, “fight back against Robert MUELLER’s DEEP STATE HIT SQUAD TODAY!”
In new legal filings Friday night, Stone’s lawyers demanded access to the full, unredacted version of the Mueller report because they claim he “is the last vestige of the investigation,” and they believe the special counsel report may contain information that helps them prove their case. Having the full report is the only way Stone can determine “whether or not he is being selectively prosecuted” by the special counsel, they say.
Stone’s legal team also filed motions to dismiss the indictments against him on what appear to be pretty creative grounds.
Stone is accused of lying to the House Intelligence Committee about his communication with WikiLeaks and his possession of records that showed those interactions. Stone allegedly lied to the committee about the fact that conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi tipped him off that the hacked emails were going to be released via WikiLeaks, saying that comedian Randy Credico was the one who acted as his “go-between” with WikiLeaks. He also allegedly pressured Credico into backing up that false account.
During the 2016 campaign, Stone claimed to be in close communication with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying that he spoke with him in confidence about when various hacked Clinton-related emails were going to be published. He has also admitted to communicating with Guccifer 2.0, the pseudonym of a Russian intelligence officer believed to be responsible for hacking Podesta’s emails. But Stone later described those communications as “completely innocuous.”
In the latest filings, Stone’s team claims that his charges should be dismissed because nobody has testified before a grand jury that his statements in question were material to the House Committee’s investigation into Russian interference. Therefore, they argue, he can’t be charged with lying or obstructing the Russia investigation. Instead, they say House Democrats violated committee rules by drawing attention to the fact that he lied.
In fact, his legal team says, because Congress never complained about Stone’s alleged lying to the special counsel’s office, Mueller’s team did not have the authority to investigate it without violating the separation of powers.
Also, Stone argues, how can he be charged with obstructing the investiagtion into Russian election meddling if the special counsel’s office was unable to prove Americans took part in the election interference? In reality, the filing argues, the special counsel is simply punishing Stone for supporting President Donald J. Trump.
Besides, Stone claims, the Justice Department is not allowed to investigate a sitting president or his campaign. Such an investigation into a president or a presidential campaign is a violation of the U.S. Constitution, the filing argues.
“If the President and his presidential campaign cannot be investigated by the Executive Branch’s Department of Justice, then the investigation of Roger Stone, which was the direct fruit of that poisoned tree, must fall,” the motion to dismiss states.
The motion also includes as an exhibit Attorney General William Barr’s infamous memo that he sent to the Justice Department last year as a private citizen, criticizing the special counsel’s investigation of Trump for potential obstruction of justice. It’s unclear exactly what connection Stone’s lawyers are attempting to draw here.