Lawyers for longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone told a federal judge Monday that they were not trying to hide anything from the court at a gag-order-related hearing last month where they failed to mention that Stone was in the midst of releasing a book trashing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
In a submission ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, Stone attorney Bruce Rogow said it did not occur to him until after the Feb. 21 hearing that the newly crafted introduction for a paperback edition of Stone’s book on the 2016 campaign might land him in hot water.
“Reading for the first time the New Introduction, while waiting for a plane back to Fort Lauderdale, brought the issue home and led to the Motion to Clarify,” wrote Rogow and other lawyers defending Stone against false-statement and witness-tampering charge.
“There was/is no intention to hide anything. The new introduction, post February 21, 2019, presented a question we tried, obviously clumsily, to address. Having been scolded, we seek only to defend Mr. Stone and move ahead without further ado,” Stone’s defense team added.
However, emails Stone’s lawyers handed over to the court Monday night reflect that six days before the Feb. 21 hearing, Stone was expressing concern that a gag order from Jackson could interfere with his promotion of the new edition, retitled “The Myth of Russian Collusion: The Inside Story of How Donald Trump REALLY Won .”
“Recognize that the judge may issue a gag order any day now and while we will appeal it, that could take a while,” Stone wrote to Skyhorse Publishing editor Michael Campbell on Feb. 15. “I also have to be wary of media outlets I want to interview me but don’t really want to talk about the book. These are weird times.”
Shortly after Stone was indicted in January, Jackson imposed a rather limited gag order that precluded the conservative author and provocateur from speaking about his case in the environs of the federal courthouse. However, after Stone posted an image of the judge and what appeared to be crosshairs on his Instagram feed, Jackson ordered him into court to explain himself.
Stone took the stand at the Feb. 21 hearing and insisted that the post was the product of him failing to pay close enough attention to images sent to him by volunteers. Jackson said she did not find Stone’s testimony credible and she expanded the gag order to prohibit virtually all statements by Stone about the investigation and the pending charges.
Stone is due back in court Thursday for a hearing expected to feature both discussion of a possible trial date and an indication of what, if anything, Jackson plans to do in response to the book.
The emails that Stone’s attorneys filed Monday also provide an unusual degree of insight into the GOP operative’s business dealings related to the book, and perhaps to his aspirations about its impact.
In December, Stone lawyer Grant Smith said Stone had rejected a title the publisher was proposing for the new edition: “My Ties to Trump’s Campaign: What I Knew, What I Didn’t Know and Why Mueller is Wrong.”
“The one proposed would not play well either in public or in the administration,” Smith wrote, citing feedback from Stone.
Stone also complained that he’d been underpaid for the hardback version of the book, titled, “The Making of the President 2016.” He wanted money up front for the new edition. (Exact amounts and percentages were redacted from the court filing.)
In January, Stone also fretted that the publisher was going to print too many copies of the new edition.
“How many do you plan to print?–there is GLUT of books like this,” Stone wrote. The publisher wound up printing about 13,000 to 14,000 copies, according to the emails.
Despite Stone’s highly publicized arrest in January, the books did not fly off the shelves, according to the publishing house.
But Skyhorse president and publisher Tony Lyons tried to sound optimistic in a Feb. 26 email to Stone, writing: “They are not selling particularly well so far, but hopefully that will change.”
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine