Attorneys for political consultant Roger Stone, a former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump, asked a judge Wednesday to make special counsel Robert Mueller’s office prove it didn’t improperly release a copy of its indictment against Stone ahead of his arrest last month.
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Stone has repeatedly criticized authorities for the handling of his Jan. 25 arrest and accused prosecutors of tipping off news media to the situation.
Just after 6 a.m. Jan. 25, agents with the FBI arrested Stone on charges of obstruction, giving false statements and witness tampering at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The arrest came about an hour after a news truck set up outside Stone's home, his attorneys said Wednesday. A camera crew working for CNN caught footage of the arrest.
>> Former Trump adviser Roger Stone arrested; judge sets bond at $250K
Shortly after authorities took Stone into custody, his attorneys were contacted by a reporter, identified by CNN as the network’s political correspondent, Sara Murray. Stone’s attorneys said she shared a copy of the indictment against Stone, which she said she’d obtained from Mueller’s office.
Attorneys for Stone noted the indictment had yet to be released on the public docket and lacked the markings to indicate it had been filed.
>> READ: The full indictment of Roger Stone by special counsel Robert Mueller
“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 … had – in violation of the Court’s Order – publicly distributed the Indictment prior to its release from the sealing ordered by the Court,” Stone’s attorneys wrote in Wednesday’s filing.
They added that the initials of the author given in the metadata of the shared draft matched those of a person working for the special counsel’s office, thereby supporting “a reasonable inference that (the) office is responsible for the unlawful public disclosure of a grand jury document sealed by order of the Court.”
Officials with CNN have repeatedly denied that the news network was improperly tipped off to Stone's impending arrest. Instead, representatives of the news network said they relied on a combination of the few details available on the investigation and ongoing rumors that Stone's arrest was imminent.
Stone has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. He’s the sixth Trump aide to be charged in connection with Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its possible ties to Trump campaign officials. The indictment does not charge Stone with conspiring with Russia but instead accuses him of witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his interactions related to WikiLeaks' release during the run-up to the 2016 election of emails stolen from Democrats by Russian operatives.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.