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Politics Trump adviser Stone loses bid to lift court-imposed gag order as trial looms

22:10  22 october  2019
22:10  22 october  2019 Source:   reuters.com

DOJ, Roger Stone at odds over showing ‘Godfather’ clip during trial

  DOJ, Roger Stone at odds over showing ‘Godfather’ clip during trial The Justice Department and Roger Stone’s attorneys remain in a standoff over whether jurors should be shown a clip from “The Godfather, Part II” during the longtime Donald Trump associate’s upcoming trial. © Sait Serkan Gurbuz/AP Photo Roger Stone. At issue is a four-minute scene from the 1974 movie in which a character named Frank Pentangeli backtracks from giving Congress damning testimony about the Corleone crime family. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's former adviser Roger Stone lost a last-ditch effort on Tuesday to lift a court-imposed gag order barring him from posting on social media or discussing his criminal case slated to begin next month.

Roger Stone wearing a suit and tie standing next to a woman: FILE PHOTO: Roger Stone arrives for a hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington© Reuters/Alexander Drago FILE PHOTO: Roger Stone arrives for a hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington

In a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit refused to overturn the gag order imposed by a lower court, saying Stone and his family had "failed to avail themselves of adequate alternative remedies" to address their concerns that the gag order violated Stone's First Amendment free speech.

Judge: No Godfather clip for Stone trial

  Judge: No Godfather clip for Stone trial Judge: No Godfather clip for Stone trialU.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson sided with Stone’s attorneys, who argued that showing the clip from the Mafia-themed 1974 Francis Ford Coppola film “Godfather II” could inflame jurors and unfairly introduce issues extraneous to the lying-to-Congress and witness-tampering charges against Stone.

Bruce Rogow, the lead attorney on Stone's defense team, told Reuters in an email he was "disappointed" by Tuesday's ruling.

Stone has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of making false statements to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

The charges stemmed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the case is now being handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.

The upcoming Nov. 5 trial for Stone, a long-time Republican political strategist and self-described “agent provocateur” and “dirty trickster,” is widely expected to be filled with quirky moments that are not typically seen in a criminal case.

Senate confirms Trump judicial pick labeled 'not qualified' by American Bar Association

  Senate confirms Trump judicial pick labeled 'not qualified' by American Bar Association The Senate confirmed a President Trump district court pick on Thursday who was labeled "not qualified" by the American Bar Association (ABA).Justin Walker was confirmed as a judge for the Western District of Kentucky in a 50-41 party-line vote.The ABA noted in a recent memo to senators that the "Standing Committee believes that Mr. Walker does not presently have the requisite trial or litigation experience or its equivalent." TheJustin Walker was confirmed as a judge for the Western District of Kentucky in a 50-41 party-line vote.

Most recently, for instance, prosecutors and Stone's defense team tussled over whether the government could play a clip for the jury from the movie "The Godfather Part II" because Stone, in text messages sent to a witness in his case, made reference to a character from the film who pressures someone to give false testimony to Congress.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that the government can show the jury a transcript, but that showing the clip itself would be too prejudicial to Stone's defense.

Jackson is the same judge who imposed a stringent gag order on Stone in July that banned him from making any posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

The broad social media ban was put in place after Stone was found to have repeatedly violated two less stringent gag orders that had been imposed previously.

In the first instance, Jackson in February ordered Stone to stop publicly talking about the case after he posted what appeared to be a threatening photo of her next to the image of gun crosshairs on his Instagram account.

Then in July, Jackson curbed his speech even further after prosecutors presented multiple examples in which Stone had continued posting articles and commentary about the case against him, including disparaging comments about House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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