Roger Stone as­so­ciate held in con­tempt

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeff Horwitz and Dar­lene Superville

An as­so­ciate of for­mer Trump cam­paign ad­viser Roger Stone was held in con­tempt of court Friday in a fresh at­tempt to chal­lenge Robert Mueller’s ap­point­ment as the spe­cial coun­sel in­ves­ti­gat­ing Trump cam­paign con­tacts with Rus­sia dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

The move also spot­lighted a grow­ing fo­cus by Mueller on Stone. An­other of Stone’s as­so­ci­ates, a New Yorker known as the “Man­hat­tan Madam” be­cause she once op­er­ated an upscale es­cort ser­vice, was ex­pected to make her first ap­pear­ance be­fore a grand jury in the case.

Paul Ka­me­nar, the at­tor­ney for Stone as­so­ciate An­drew Miller, whose re­fusal to ap­pear be­fore the grand jury Friday led him to be held in con­tempt, ar­gued af­ter the pro­ceed­ings that Mueller’s ap­point­ment is un­con­sti­tu­tional. He as­serted that Deputy At­tor­ney Gen­eral Rod Rosen­stein did not have the au­thor­ity to ap­point Mueller to lead the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Trump cam­paign con­tacts with Rus­sia.

Pre­vi­ous chal­lenges to Mueller’s le­git­i­macy have failed.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has sought to un­der­mine the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by call­ing it a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.” He has re­peat­edly in­sisted, “there was no col­lu­sion.”

Ka­me­nar also said a pros­e­cu­tor with pow­ers as broad as Mueller’s should be treated like a U.S. at­tor­ney and be sub­ject to Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion.

“There’s been no au­thor­ity, we say, that gives the Jus­tice De­part­ment the power to ap­point Mr. Mueller,” Ka­me­nar told re­porters out­side the court­house in Wash­ing­ton af­ter Miller was held in con­tempt for re­fus­ing to ap­pear be­fore the grand jury.

Ka­me­nar as­serted that Mueller has vastly more au­thor­ity than any U.S. at­tor­ney, in­clud­ing the abil­ity to in­dict for­eign ac­tors and bring cases in more than one ju­ris­dic­tion.

“So our point is if the U.S. at­tor­neys have to be ap­proved by the United States Se­nate, so, too, should Mr. Mueller,” Ka­me­nar said.

Rosen­stein ap­pointed Mueller as spe­cial coun­sel last year af­ter At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions stepped aside from the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion. A for­mer U.S. se­na­tor, Ses­sions was one of Trump’s ear­li­est Se­nate back­ers and was in­volved in cam­paign op­er­a­tions. Ses­sions met sev­eral times with Rus­sia’s am­bas­sador to the U.S.

Mueller has spent months in­ves­ti­gat­ing Rus­sian med­dling in the elec­tion and whether any Trump cam­paign aides had a hand in the for­eign in­ter­fer­ence plot. A for­mer FBI direc­tor, Mueller ap­pears to be putting a fo­cus on Stone, a po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tant and long­time in­for­mal ad­viser to Trump. Mueller’s team has spent months ques­tion­ing wit­nesses about Stone, in­clud­ing Stone’s as­so­ci­ates.

An in­dict­ment an­nounced last month ac­cused 12 Rus­sian mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers of hack­ing into the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign of Hil­lary Clin­ton, Trump’s Demo­cratic op­po­nent, and the Demo­cratic Party, and re­leas­ing tens of thou­sands of pri­vate com­mu­ni­ca­tions in a sweep­ing Krem­lin-or­ches­trated con­spir­acy to in­ter­fere in the 2016 U.S. elec­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the charges, the Rus­sian de­fen­dants, us­ing a per­sona known as Guc­cifer 2.0, in Au­gust 2016 con­tacted a per­son in touch with the Trump cam­paign to of­fer help.

Stone, through his at­tor­ney, has ac­knowl­edged hav­ing a “24word ex­change with some­one on Twit­ter claim­ing to be Guc­cifer 2.0.” The state­ment from lawyer Grant Smith said the ex­change “pro­vides no ev­i­dence of col­lab­o­ra­tion or col­lu­sion with Guc­cifer 2.0 or any­one else in the al­leged hack­ing of the DNC emails.”

J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Paul Ka­me­nar, at­tor­ney for An­drew Miller, joined by Peter Fla­herty, chair­man of the Na­tional Le­gal and Pol­icy Cen­ter, left, talks to re­porters af­ter a fed­eral judge found Miller in con­tempt for re­fus­ing to tes­tify be­fore the grand jury hear­ing ev­i­dence in spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, at the District Court in Wash­ing­ton, Friday.

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