Roger Stone, the longtime adviser to President Donald Trump, appeared in a federal courthouse on Tuesday for the first time since a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election was made public.
Indicted in January by the special counsel’s office, the veteran Republican political operative has pleaded not guilty to charges of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice. His trial is scheduled to commence in November.
In the days leading up to the release of a redacted version of Mueller’s report, Stone’s legal team sought access to the Mueller report in its entirety, which Attorney General William Barr made public with redactions earlier this month.
In court on Tuesday, U.S. Judge Amy Berman Jackson considered Stone’s argument to see the report but did not rule from the bench.
"I think it's fair to say that some portions that relate to this defendant, in particular, are redacted from public view for largely appropriate reason," Jackson said.
Jonathan Kravis, an assistant U.S. attorney who has taken over the special counsel’s case against Stone, said the government has no intention to willingly grant Stone and his legal team access to a less-redacted version of the Mueller report.
"We believe those materials are not discoverable,” Kravis argued. “They relate to mental impressions of government attorneys. They're exempted from government disclosure.”
Barr justified some of those redactions by claiming they concealed information harmful to ongoing investigations, including the government’s case against Stone.
The Justice Department later made a less-redacted version of the Mueller report available to some members of Congress.
Attorneys for Stone have also filed court documents seeking to have his charges dropped, arguing that the special counsel’s appointment violated the constitution.
Several federal courts have dismissed challenges to the special counsel’s authority on similar grounds, including an appeals case brought by a former aide to Stone, Andrew Miller.
The government is expected to submit responses to Stone’s motions by Friday.