- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 14, 2019

Self-described GOP dirty trickster Roger Stone will head to trial on November 5, a federal judge in Washington said Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the trial will likely last two weeks and also set a mid-September date for a pretrial conference to discuss jury questions and other administrative matters.

Mr. Stone, a longtime adviser to President Trump, was arrested in a predawn raid at his Florida home in January. he has pleaded not guilty to obstruction, lying to Congress and witness tampering. He was released on bail shortly after his arrest.

The charges against him were lodged by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into Russian collusion. Mr. Mueller said the crimes were committed as an effort to conceal his attempts to get information about Wikileaks’ plans to release emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee.

Prior to setting the trial date, Judge Jackson lambasted Mr. Stone’s attorneys for failing to tell her about their client’s imminent publication of a controversial book mocking Mr. Mueller.

Judge Jackson was visibly frustrated about not being forewarned and expressed doubt about defense attorneys’ excuse that telling her about the book would have been “awkward.”

“If….you become aware of circumstances that could be viewed as noncompliant, the last thing you should worry about is whether telling the court would be uncomfortable,” she told Mr. Stone’s attorneys.

“I am being targeted not because I committed a crime, but because the Deep State liberals want to silence me and pressure me to testify against my good friend,” he wrote.

But Judge Jackson stopped short of saying the book violated a gag order she issued earlier in the case. She promised to take the matter under consideration. 

The book, entitled “The Myth of Russian Collusion” is an updated version of the same tome he released just after the 2016 election. In the new copy, Mr. Stone refers to Mr. Mueller as “crooked” and insists he was charged solely because of his connection to Mr. Trump.

“I am being targeted not because I committed a crime, but because the Deep State liberals want to silence me and pressure me to testify against my good friend,” he wrote in the updated introduction.

When the book was initially published, it was called “The Making of the President 2016.”

Last week, a clearly irked Judge Jackson demanded more information about the book. Since his case started, Mr. Stone has taken a number of steps to tweak the judge.

Over Presidents Day weekend, Stone promoted the book online and also posted a photo of Judge Jackson with what appeared to be crosshairs near her head. The photo prompted Judge Jackson to issue a stricter gag order, blocking him from speaking about the case or Mr. Mueller while his charges are pending.

Mr. Stone’s gag order allows him to profess his innocence and raise money for his defense, but he’s otherwise barred from publicly speaking about his case.

But on March 3, Stone posted a photo of himself with the question “Who Framed Roger Stone?” The image was an homage to the 1988 movie, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” While the post was expected to land him in hot water, Judge Jackson has been relatively silent about the photo.

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