Judge sets Nov. 5 trial date for Trump ally Roger Stone in Mueller case

A federal judge on Thursday set a Nov. 5 trial date for President Donald Trump‘s longtime political ally and self-described dirty trickster, Roger Stone.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson said in Washington, D.C., district court that she expects the trial will last “at least” two weeks, NBC News reported.

Stone was arrested in late January in a predawn FBI raid at his Florida home. He was indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller‘s prosecutors on seven criminal counts, including lying to Congress and obstructing a House investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election.

Stone is alleged to have lied about his interactions with whistleblower organization WikiLeaks, which published a trove of Democratic officials‘ emails in the run-up to the 2016 election. Mueller has accused Russian intelligence agency hackers of stealing the private messages from the Democratic National Committee.

Stone has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Jackson also laid out a schedule ahead of the trial: The next status hearing will be held in April 30, and a pretrial conference was set for Sept. 17.

The status conference followed a period of contention between Stone and Jackson regarding his gag order in the case.

The judge had issued a partial gag on Stone and his attorneys to keep them from making statements to the media that could prejudice the case against him. But Jackson greatly tightened Stone‘s muzzle after the longtime Republican operative an Instagram post of Jackson‘s face next to what appeared to be a rifle scope‘s crosshair.

After Jackson strengthened Stone‘s gag order, she learned that Stone re-released his book “The Myth of Russian Collusion,” which contains a newly written introduction that criticizes Mueller and his probe of Russian election meddling and possible Trump-campaign collusion.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and has slammed the probe as a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

At the hearing Thursday, Jackson said she didn‘t “intend to dwell on” the issue of whether stone had violated his gag order.

“He was aware at the time the order was issued that there was a publication,” she said. “They tried to get on top of the issue thereafter.”

A day before scheduling Stone‘s trial, Jackson sentenced Paul Manafort, Trump‘s former campaign chairman, to nearly four years in prison on separate charges lodged by Mueller.

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