Special Counsel for the Russia investigation Robert Mueller is continuing his inquiry whether U.S. President Donald Trump and his extended circles like it or not. Trump isn’t the only one perpetually attempting to weasel out of an appearance before the special counsel’s team; Roger Stone associate Andrew Miller has as well. Now, though, he’s been held in contempt for refusing to testify before Mueller’s grand jury.
Just earlier this month, a lawsuit he brought challenging Mueller’s authority and seeking to get out from under his subpoena failed. However, he’s not prepared to go along with the special counsel just yet. Friday, in a closed hearing, U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl Howell held Miller in contempt for his continued refusal to testify. He’s escaping acute legal consequences for the ruling — like jail — while his legal team, including lawyer Paul Kamenar, appeals earlier direction from the judiciary for him to testify.
His legal team “emphasized that being held in contempt is a necessary condition for him to appeal,” as reporter Kyle Cheney put it — in other words, they’re digging into their anti-Mueller position.
Miller worked for Trump associate Roger Stone throughout the 2016 U.S. election cycle, handling tasks like setting up media appearances. He originally entered Stone’s orbit alongside his father Timothy Suareth, who was discovered as a human smuggler and subsequently agreed to work as an informant for the U.S. government. (Yes, really.)
— Laura Rozen (@lrozen) August 4, 2018
Miller reportedly simply didn’t show up for two scheduled appearances before Mueller’s grand jury, which was first impaneled late last year. He then finally got around to filing the aforementioned shot down lawsuit challenging the special counsel’s authority. No such lawsuit has yet succeeded in stopping the special counsel. Another prominent figure to make such a challenge — former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort — currently remains in police custody as the first of his two currently set trials wraps up in Virginia. In other words, his attempts to stop Mueller’s scrutiny failed.
For now, though, Miller is determined. He has the backing of the conservative National Legal and Policy Center, which is paying his legal bills. That organization explains on its website:
‘We believe that the best way to promote ethics is to reduce the size of government.’
The paradigm is reminiscent of specifically anti-Mueller lines spewed by the president and his associates, who have claimed that the investigation is out of control and costing too much — as if the cost of an investigation has any bearing whatsoever on whether or not its capable of exposing wrongdoing.
Miller is one of a number of Stone associates who Mueller’s team has targeted so far. Another is the “Manhattan Madam” Kristin Davis, who earned her nickname thanks to running a “high-end prostitution ring” some years ago. She’s testifying before Mueller’s grand jury, as are Stone’s driver John Kakanis and his past social media consultant, Jason Sullivan.
Meanwhile, we’re left wondering what exactly has Miller so spooked about the possibility of appearing in front of a grand jury where — in theory at least — he has to tell the truth.
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