U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has been assigned to the case of Roger Stone, the Trump-affiliated political operative arrested on Friday for obstructing the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Bloomberg reports. Berman’s no-nonsense reputation was solidified last year when she jailed former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort for witness tampering over the phone.
Stone faces charges of lying to Congress, obstruction of an investigation, and — like Manafort — witness tampering. The seven-count indictment details how the Trump campaign actively sought to benefit from the release of stolen material damaging to Hillary Clinton, Trump’s opponent at the time.
Opponents of the president have rallied around the arrest of Stone, showcasing it as proof that the Trump campaign coordinated illegally to gain an advantage in the 2016 election.
“The indictment of Roger Stone makes clear that there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump campaign officials to influence the 2016 election and subvert the will of the American people,” wrote Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in a statement. “It is staggering that the President has chosen to surround himself with people who violated the integrity of our democracy and lied to the FBI and Congress about it.”
Pelosi’s statement also reaffirmed the importance of the Special Counsel investigation and recommitted to ensuring that it will continue without influence from the president or others.
The Special Counsel investigation is working, and the House will ensure that it can continue, free from interference from the White House. Read my full statement here: https://t.co/8OSuz3eq1w— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 26, 2019
Stone, a self-described political trickster, has harshly criticized the Mueller investigation and has vowed to fight his own indictment vigorously.
“There’s a war on alternative media,” he said in an interview with Fox News. “There’s a war where they’re trying to criminalize political expression. There’s a war where they’re trying to criminalize free speech.”
Stone, who has yet to face Jackson in court, may find himself on a short leash with respect to the outspoken behavior for which he is known.
“This is not middle school,” Jackson said to Manafort’s lawyers when she sent him to jail for witness tampering. “I can’t take his cellphone.”
Manafort had allegedly been making calls to a variety of key witnesses in the investigation while on house-arrest during his own trial. Jackson also imposed a gag order to curtail discussion of the case with the press.
Stone initially appeared Friday in front of a different judge, shackled and appearing slightly disheveled after an early morning FBI raid pulled him from his home.
“Well, as I’ve always said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about,” he said to the court when he arrived.