- The Washington Times - Friday, February 22, 2019

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office on Friday officially denied alerting the media in advance of FBI agents arresting Roger Stone last month.

Federal prosecutors said in a 5-page court filing that news of the government’s case against Mr. Stone was circulated to outlets shortly after he was arrested at his Florida home on the morning of January 26, and not before the incident as his lawyers alleged.

“Consistent with its regular practice, within a few minutes of receiving confirmation of the defendant’s arrest, the Special Counsel’s Office (‘SCO’) posted the charging document on the SCO website and notified press outlets of the arrest and that the indictment was available online,” Mr. Mueller’s team said in the filing.

“The government’s public release of the indictment shortly after the defendant’s arrest was consistent with the order sealing the indictment,” the special counsel’s office told U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson.

A longtime Republican strategist and former adviser to President Trump, Mr. Stone was arrested during a pre-dawn raid that was captured on camera by CNN. Mr. Stone alleged the network was notified in advance, and his lawyer claimed the special counsel’s illegally leaked “a draft copy of the sealed indictment, enabling news media to attend and witness Stone’s 6 a.m. arrest.”

Judge Jackson, an Obama appointee, subsequently asked federal prosecutors for details about messages sent to the media on the morning of Mr. Stone’s arrest.
Responding in Friday’s filing, the special counsel’s office said that details about the Stone case were only disclosed to members of the media after the defendant was officially taken into custody.

“The Special Counsel’s Office is aware of no information indicating that reporters were given any advance knowledge of a possible indictment from the Special Counsel’s Office,” Mr. Mueller’s team said.

Judge Jackson responded later Friday in an order compelling additional details from the special counsel’s office by Tuesday, including the specific timing and recipients of the team’s messages sent on the morning of Mr. Stone’s arrest.

Mr. Stone, 66, has been charged with seven counts of crimes including lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is currently free on bail.

CNN previously said the network had been monitoring Mr. Stone’s residence because of recent court activity that indicated his arrest could be imminent.

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