Stone heads to court; Mueller cites potential evidence trove
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone is due back in court today in the special counsel's Russia investigation as prosecutors say they have recovered "voluminous and complex" potential evidence in the case, including financial records, emails and computer hard drives.
Stone faces a status conference in federal court in Washington just three days after he pleaded not guilty to felony charges of witness tampering, obstruction and false statements.
The appearance is likely to be perfunctory, though prosecutors may seek an order that would prevent Stone – who held a news conference Thursday where he proclaimed his innocence – from discussing the case against him. The judge overseeing Stone's prosecution, Amy Berman Jackson, also presides over special counsel Robert Mueller's case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and issued a similar gag order in that matter after a lawyer for Manafort addressed reporters after his first court appearance.
"Obviously I would adhere to any ruling of the court if they should do that. On the other hand, I would also have the right, as I understand it, to appeal," Stone told reporters. He said he would have made a statement to reporters outside court after his arraignment Tuesday, but "that was obviously physically impossible given the pushing, the shoving, the shouting, the spitting."
Stone has been outspoken since his indictment last week, repeatedly asserting his innocence and criticizing Mueller's team for having him arrested before dawn. He made the rounds on television last weekend and held a news conference at a Washington hotel on Thursday where he said he was prepared to tell the truth to Mueller but that he had no derogatory information about Trump, his longtime friend.
"I have great affection and remain a strong and loyal supporter of the president," Stone said.
He suggested that he was accused of "after-the-fact process crimes," including lying to lawmakers investigating potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, rather than any illegal collusion.
"I am not accused of Russian collusion, I am not accused of collaboration with WikiLeaks, I am not accused of conspiracy," Stone said. He said there is no evidence or accusation that he knew in advance about the source or content of the WikiLeaks material.
In a court filing Thursday, prosecutors with Mueller's office said the FBI seized physical devices from his home, apartment and office. They said multiple hard drives containing several terabytes of information have been recovered, including bank and financial records and the contents of numerous phones and computers.