Roger Stone keeps digging that hole—but it's deeper, and wider, than just threatening a judge


On Monday evening, it became obvious that Roger Stone had delivered another shot to his own foot, with a plea for cash that managed to both violate a gag order and threaten a federal judge. His attorneys then tried to make it all better by producing a ridiculous “notice of apology.” Which is not a thing. Despite the way that Stone’s team dressed this bit of text up with a case number and the trappings of an official court document, there is no such thing as a “notice of apology.” Stone cannot trample court orders, sprinkle his cash-begging emails with crosshairs, and then make it all better with an official “whoopsie.”

By Tuesday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson made it clear that not only is Stone’s notice unacceptable, but his actions are absolutely in violation of her earlier orders. So much so that Stone has been ordered to appear in court on Thursday and provide a reason, any reason, why he shouldn’t get to coordinate his Mafioso pinstripe suits with some genuine prison bars. And he’s going to have to do better than an official “Notice of Gee, I didn’t mean to imply people should shoot a federal judge.” And while Stone is trying to think up a lie, and think it up quick, USA Today wants to remind everyone that the information about Roger Stone that appeared in recent court documents is a genuinely big deal.

In explaining why the case of Stone lying to investigators meets the standard of being “related” to the investigation into the Trump campaign’s connection with the Russian government, it’s worth noting that “related” has a specific meeting in court documents.

Under local court rules, cases should be designated as “related” if they arise “from a common wiretap, search warrant, or activities which are a part of the same alleged criminal event or transaction.”

That’s how Stone wound up reporting to Judge Berman, who has dealt with other prosecutions emerging from Mueller’s office. But what makes Stone’s case extraordinary is just which search warrants turned up the evidence against him. That evidence wasn’t found by rifling through Stone’s email, or looking under his Florida porch. It came from search warrants executed against Russian agents.

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