Republican strategist Roger Stone was arrested in his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Friday, Jan. 25 in connection to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Stone was charged with witness tampering, obstructing an official proceeding and five counts of making false statements. The former Trump campaign official has since pled not guilty, and has denied wrongdoing in interviews after his highly publicized arrest.
Stone has spent his career working with prominent Republican leaders. His clients include people such as former presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, as well as congresspeople such as former Republican Party Leader and Kansas Senator Bob Dole and former Housing Secretary Jack Kemp.
The Jan. 25 raid on Stone’s home in Florida has been discussed significantly in the media. Some people have criticized the decision made by the FBI team to use what appeared to be a significant amount of force, although such tactics including early morning raids and multiple law enforcement officials working to capture one person are not uncommon.
One of the main critics of the arrest has been South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who called the actions, “unacceptable,” and has gone as far as to call for an appearance by senior FBI leadership in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Graham sent a letter to the FBI Director Christopher A. Wray in which the Senator discussed his belief that the Special Counsel and their partners in other organizations, as well as the media, play up certain aspects of this investigation for the American people and the press to be distracted by the flashiness of the proceedings instead of any substance that the investigation could lack.
Other Republicans, including President Trump, have echoed the sentiment that the level of force was odd or unusual. What was more unusual was the level of publicity surrounding this particular arrest. Michael German, a former FBI special agent, is one of the people who has responded to the criticisms and concerns of Republicans over this particular arrest and he says that such arrests have become commonplace in the last 20 years. Part of the rationale behind the decision to use displays of force when arresting people is that it dissuades violence by those being arrested, and is thought to lower the possibility of attempts at resisting arrest. Actions taken by those being arrested can factor into decisions about how to arrest them. An example of this is Stone’s decision to take and post pictures of him using various weapons, and justifying them by saying he might need them in case of a “civil war,” in a publicity stunt with InfoWars owner Alex Jones.
Ever since his arrest and subsequent release on bail, Stone has been making statements to the press, and as a result of this, the judge in the criminal case against him, Judge Amy Berman Jackson, has been contemplating issuing a gag order on both him and the prosecution.
“The case was a criminal proceeding and not a public relations campaign,” said Jackson.
If a gag order is imposed, it is still possible for both Stone and others involved in the case to speak to the press, just not about matters related to the case.