WASHINGTON — A federal judge said that there was “nothing in the record to substantiate” Roger Stone’s claim that prosecutors tipped CNN off to his Jan. 25 arrest.
Stone, facing charges of lying to Congress and intimidating a witness, asked that Judge Amy Berman Jackson to look into whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team violated a court order to keep his indictment under seal until he was apprehended.
But Jackson wrote on Wednesday that prosecutors had shown that the indictment was unsealed about 10 minutes after his was arrested at 6:06 a.m. She also noted that the indictment was sealed at the request of prosecutors.
“Thus, according to even the defendant’s own timeline, the indictment was not disseminated to the public until after the defendant had been arrested, and the sole basis for [the special counsel’s] request that it be sealed on the public docket had evaporated,” she wrote.
CNN was on the scene at the time of the arrest, but its reporters say that they had staked out Stone’s Fort Lauderdale home because they had gathered clues about pending activity by the special counsel. Stone himself had told reporters that an indictment was a possibility.
Jackson wrote that “while it appears that a news crew was indeed already at the house before the FBI arrived, there is nothing in the record to substantiate the central allegation in defendant’s motion that ‘a news crew knew the time and place of the arrest . . . having been provided with an unfiled, draft copy of the indictment the court had ordered sealed.’”
Jackson also wrote that the posting of the indictment to the Justice Department website was “not unauthorized,” even though it did not appear on the court’s database until later in the morning.
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