Published: Sun, August 12, 2018

Roger Stone associate held in contempt in Russia probe

Roger Stone associate held in contempt in Russia probe

A witness in US special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation was cited for contempt on Friday after he refused a court order to appear for a grand jury.

Miller was ordered to appear before the Mueller grand jury last week after a federal judge rejected his attempt to quash the subpoena on the grounds that Mueller's appointment was unconstitutional.

Miller attorney Paul Kamenar told reporters after the judge's ruling that he actually wanted to be held in contempt of court so that they could appeal the decision in front of a different judge at the court of appeals.

Although previous challenges to Mueller's legitimacy have failed, Miller's attorney, Paul Kamenar, argued that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein did not have the authority to appoint someone with sweeping powers like those given to Mueller, saying such powers can only be granted to USA attorneys approved by the Senate.

After months of investigation Mueller now appears to be focusing on Stone, a longtime adviser to Trump who was a political consultant during his 2016 election campaign.

A NY bank executive testified Friday that Paul Manafort received more than $16 million in loans after the bank's chairman expressed interest in joining Donald Trump's Cabinet if he won the 2016 presidential election.

Miller, who runs a St. Louis house-painting business, hasn't worked for Stone for three years, according to a person familiar with the matter, except for one week of the Republican National Convention, when he came in to coordinate Stone's schedule, the person said.

That former associate, Andrew Miller, is now facing contempt charges. Rosenstein appointed Mueller after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation.

Stone told CNN's Anderson Cooper earlier this week that he has not been contacted by the special counsel's office and said that while he "would not rule out cooperating", with the investigation, he would not testify against Trump. Stone said that he was "highly confident she will testify truthfully if called upon to do so".

Miller plans to appeal. 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".

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