Roger Stone Aide Begs Judge To Avoid Testifying Before Mueller Grand Jury; Court Responds

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Russia scandal is continuing to develop on multiple fronts. As his team continues to seek testimony from the president, they’ve now been granted the testimony of a lower level individual who associates with Trump ally Roger Stone.

D.C. Judge Beryl Howell ruled Thursday that Stone aide Andrew Miller must appear before the special counsel’s grand jury, throwing out his previous challenge to the legality of Mueller’s work.

Howell wrote that despite “legitimate questions” from the Stone associate, his arguments are not “legally sustainable.”

She explained:

‘The scope of the Special Counsel’s power falls well within the boundaries the Constitution permits, as the Special Counsel is supervised by an official who is himself accountable to the elected President.’

Whether Miller will actually appear before the jury remains to be seen. His lawyer Paul Kamenar indicated an openness to appeal and shared that at present, Mueller’s team has not yet set details for a Miller jury testimony appearance they may seek.

He added:

‘We’re disappointed with the court’s ruling. But the judge obviously took our challenge to Mueller’s constitutionality seriously as evidenced by the 93-page opinion.’

Miller’s team had originally claimed that the special counsel “wields too much power with too little accountability,” as Howell explained the argument in her ruling. In other words, they weren’t just trying to exploit the system to get out of an appearance before a jury — they were trying to undercut the entire operation. What’s Miller so concerned about?

No challenge along their lines to Mueller’s authority has stopped him yet. The judiciary already threw out allegations Mueller overstepped his bounds from disgraced former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who’s currently on trial in Virginia. During that back and forth, a memo drawn up by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was revealed that, in addition to other points, explicitly allowed Mueller to investigate crimes Manafort may have committed that may be technically separate from 2016 Russian election meddling. Those crimes, it’s been revealed, include money laundering and secret work on behalf of pro-Putin European interests.

Mueller has, outside of the Manafort case, gotten guilty pleas from three former Trump associates, including Rick Gates, who’s testifying against Manafort after having worked with him in his pro-Russia influence operation. The special counsel has also secured testimony from a whole broad array of individuals, including a number of other Stone associates besides Miller. Targeted Stone associates include his driver John Kakanis and a social media consultant, Jason Sullivan.

Stone has, for his part, claimed to be “prepared” to be indicted by the special counsel’s team, although he said he’d expect it to be connected to activities outside of the 2016 U.S. presidential race. As he put it:

‘It is not inconceivable now that Mr. Mueller and his team may seek to conjure up some extraneous crime pertaining to my business, or maybe not even pertaining to the 2016 election. I would chalk this up to an effort to silence me.’

Stone has known Trump for decades, although those in on the president’s circles have claimed to be unworried about pressure from Mueller for the operative to flip. The going line is that Stone doesn’t know anything that would be of interest to the special counsel.

How exactly that possibility pans out remains to be seen, however.

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