Judge considers gag order for Trump confidant Roger Stone’s criminal trial: ‘This is a criminal proceeding and not a public relations campaign’

Clark Mindock

Roger Stone, the political strategist and long-time ally of Donald Trump, could be subjected to a gag order, the judge overseeing his case has said.

The 68-year-old who is facing seven charges in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, has made several high profile media appearances to discuss his case since his arrest last week.

​But US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson admonished Mr Stone for treating his charges “like a book tour”.

“This is a criminal proceeding and not a public relations campaign,” she told him at District Court in Washington DC.

It was Mr Stone's third court appearance since he was arrested in a pre-dawn raid by FBI agents at his Florida home last week.

He has since been charged with obstruction, witness tampering, and lying to Congress by the investigation being led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The judge told Mr Stone that he could talk about anything he wanted from “immigration, foreign relations or Tom Brady”, the New England Patriots quarterback set to appear in his ninth Super Bowl this weekend.

But she warned him that speaking about the investigation was off the table.

Wearing a double-breasted pinstripe suit, Stone emerged from the courthouse and struck his two-handed victory pose in homage to former president Richard Nixon.

He was then whisked away into a waiting vehicle amid supporters holding "Roger Stone did nothing wrong" signs. A protester held up a placard reading "Treason."

At a news conference in a Washington hotel earlier this week, Mr Stone said he was prepared to tell the truth to Mr Mueller but he had no derogatory information about Mr Trump, his longtime friend.

"I have great affection and remain a strong and loyal supporter of the president," Mr Stone said.

He also said he was prepared to adhere to a gag order if the judge issued one but that he would likely appeal it.

Among his lawyers is a noted First Amendment attorney who successfully represented the rap group 2 Live Crew in an obscenity court case nearly 30 years ago.

Mr Stone pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against him, and has pledged that he will not bare false witness against the president.

The political operative is known for his cut throat approach to politics, and reportedly had frequent contact with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.

That website ultimately released damaging documents stolen from the campaign of Mr Trump’s rival in that election, Hillary Clinton.