CNN obtained Roger Stone’s indictment from someone allegedly in the Special Counsel’s office hours before it had been unsealed by the court, thus allowing the news outlet to stage a camera crew outside his home and lie in wait until armed FBI agents arrested him, according to a motion filed by Stone’s lawyers Wednesday morning.
The evidence appears to rest on when the indictment was unsealed by the court.
According to the motion, the clerk’s office “informed counsel for Mr. Stone that the Indictment’s entry into the docket was made on January 25 at 8:55 a.m., more than two- and-a-half-hours after the news reporter sent the “draft” Indictment to counsel, and four hours after the news organization’s camera crew arrived at Mr. Stone’s house to film his arrest on the sealed Indictment.”
Stone could not be immediately reached for comment. Special Counsel’s office could not be immediately reached for comment.
Based on this new evidence, Stone’s attorney’s contend his arrest on Jan. 25, was staged for the CNN crew, which was ready to film the arrest and that someone in the Special Counsel’s office leaked the information.
“What is not par for the course is that a news crew knew the time and place of the arrest, and was “staked out” to watch the arrest unfold, having been provided an unfiled, draft copy of the indictment the Court had ordered sealed,” the motion states.
Timeline of Events in Motion To Show Cause
- On Jan. 25, armed FBI agents arrested Stone at 6:06 a.m.
- CNN was staking out the home hours earlier.
- Stone’s lawyers stated in their motion that at that time “the indictment remained subject to the Court’s Order sealing it from public disclosure.”
- However, by 4:58 a.m. the CNN news crew and truck arrived at “Mr. Stone’s residence and set up a camera on the street in front of Mr. Stone’s house, obviously awaiting his arrest. The FBI arrived while the camera crew was on the street.”
- By 6:11 a.m., “prior to Mr. or Mrs. Stone calling counsel, a reporter for the same news outlet as the camera crew called counsel and informed him that Mr. Stone had been arrested.”
- At 6:22 a.m., the same reporter sent counsel a text message attaching a draft copy of the still sealed indictment.” Stone’s lawyers referred the courts to Exhibit 1, showing the text messages from the reporter to the lawyers.
- Exhibit One
“The copy of the unsigned indictment provided by the reporter appears to have come from the Special Counsel’s Office,” according to the motion. In the Exhibit 2 document the metadata shows the signatures of AAW.
According to the metadata on the “draft” indictment provided by a reporter while Stone was being arrested, established that it came from an “AAW” author or computer. That a member of the Special Counsel’s office has the initials “AAW,” supports a reasonable inference that that office is responsible for the unlawful public disclosure of a grand jury document sealed by order of the Court.”
AAW, is believed to be Special Counsel Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, whose been accused in the past of conflicts of interest regarding the alleged Russia investigation.
The metadata, however, “does not establish that “AAW” sent the “draft”of the sealed indictment to the reporter who texted it to Mr. Stone’s counsel on January 25, minutes after the arrest.”
“But it does mean that a person with privileged access to a “draft” of Roger Stone’s Indictment, identical to that which had been filed under seal and which was stamped “sealed” in red, with the appropriate PACER markings, had – in violation of the Court’s Order – publicly distributed the Indictment prior to its release from the sealing ordered by the Court.”
From the Motion
The “draft” indictment contained no PACER designation across the top of any page. The metadata of the “draft” indictment, which was in PDF (portable document format), indicates that the last “modification” of the document was on January 23, 2019, at 11:04 p.m., “author[ed]” by “AAW” from “Company: JCON,” which appears to be a reference to the Justice Consolidated Office Network. (See Exhibit 3). The metadata does not establish that “AAW” sent the “draft” of the sealed indictment to the reporter who texted it to Mr. Stone’s counsel on January 25, minutes after the arrest. But it does mean that a person with privileged access to a “draft” ofRoger Stone’s Indictment, identical to that which had been filed under seal and which was stamped “sealed” in red, with the appropriate PACER markings, had – in violation of the Court’s
This story is developing. Check back for updates.
CNN video shows FBI at Roger Stone’s home in Florida.
UPDATE: Do to an editorial mistake the original headline said Unsealed, it was actually a Sealed indictment that was release to CNN.