Last week, Judge Amy Berman Jackson gave Roger Stone and his lawyers until today to explain why they never bothered to tell her that Stone was releasing a book about the criminal case against him, which appears to be in violation of his gag order. Stone and his legal team filed a response just now, and suffice it to say that they blew it.
The judge laid out several specific questions about the timing and circumstances of how the book launch came together. In response, Roger Stone’s lawyers are insisting that this is merely a newly released edition of an existing book, and that Stone wasn’t aware it had been re-released until he found out from a friend that it was newly on sale in bookstores. Okay, unlikely, but theoretically plausible. Then they blew it.
Here’s what Roger Stone’s lawyers said in conclusion in the lengthy new filing: “There was/is no intention to hide anything. The new introduction, post February 21, 2019, presented a question we tried, obviously clumsily, to address. Having been scolded, we seek only to defend Mr. Stone and move ahead without further ado.” Wait, what?
When a federal judge is trying to make a decision about whether to throw you in jail through the end of your trial, and she’s already reluctantly given you a few earlier chances, which you also blew, the last thing you want to do is to talk condescendingly to the judge, and belittle her concerns. This court filing sounds like a punk kid trying to look cool after he got in trouble with the teacher. It won’t fly.
Roger Stone may be newly emboldened by the fact that his longtime friend and partner in crime Paul Manafort recently received an overly lenient four year sentence from crackpot Judge TS Ellis. But there is no indication that Judge Jackson sees Stone in any sort of sympathetic light. Stone is playing with fire here, and he just blew it. Now we’ll find out on Thursday how badly he’s blown it, when the judge issues her ruling.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report