Feds to Hand Over Roger Stone Records to Media Outlets
WASHINGTON (CN) — Federal prosecutors told a judge Monday they are prepared to release sealed materials in search and seizure warrants against Roger Stone issued during the FBI probe into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington opted for the government’s proposed 60-day timeline to hand the sealed court records over to a coalition of media outlets that sued for the secret materials last year.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Zelinsky initially pushed against the media coalition’s request, saying the release of secret information was a risk to ongoing investigations and the privacy of third parties involved in Stone’s case.
A federal jury found the former Trump campaign adviser guilty on all seven counts in November, including obstruction of justice and witness tampering. Stone is set to be sentenced in Washington federal court next month.
But attorney Matthew Kelley of Ballard Spahr, representing the coalition of media outlets that includes the Associated Press and CNN, said the Justice Department can redact any information related to ongoing investigations.
Kelley argued that witnesses from Stone’s trial, such as former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, are already publicly associated with the case though the attorney recognized there may be other third party individuals at risk of media exposure.
“Those can be protected again by targeted redactions of the names of those persons,” Kelley said.
He initially requested the government hand over the documents in 30 days, citing the slow rolling case and a desire by the news outlets to provide the public with timely information.
But Stone’s attorney Robert Buschel, pointing to media attention expected to spike with his client’s sentencing on Feb. 20, sided with the government’s request for a 60-day deadline.
Judge Cooper agreed and ordered the Justice Department to provide a proposed order that will be discussed in private.
Cooper was randomly assigned the case after U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who oversaw Stone’s trial, recused herself based on a conflict with a member of the media coalition.