Judge Mehta Observes that Roger Stone’s Role on January 6 “May Prove Significant in Discovery”

Bennie Thompson filed his original lawsuit against Donald Trump on February 16, 2021. He amended it on April 7, 2021 to account for the legal dissolution of the Proud Boys, to add plaintiffs, and to add more details.

That means the allegations addressed in Judge Amit Mehta’s order rejecting Trump’s motion to dismiss are over ten months old and entirely predate the foundation of the January 6 Select Committee. The amended complaint was filed just days after DOJ arrested Joe Biggs’ co-travelers (providing the first documentary visibility on his second breach of the building) and similarly shortly after the first Oath Keepers superseding indictment to incorporate the Grand Theft Golf Cart chase by those who had been at the Willard the morning of the attack. In other words, the allegations addressed in Friday’s opinion were laid out an eternity ago in our understanding of the insurrection.

As Trump described it in his response to the amendment complaint, the only new things added pertained to Roger Stone and a public report that the FBI had found communications between a Trump associate and the Proud Boys.

The Amended Complaint added little in the way of additional material allegations. In paragraphs 70 and 71, Plaintiffs cryptically claim that someone associated with the White House communicated with the Proud Boys, without specifying who. They also try guilt by association. They claim to show a conspiracy to incite the January 6 riot by suggesting that at the “end of December” President Trump communicated with Roger Stone, who they then allege also communicated with members of the Proud Boys. Am. Compl. ¶ 71. Of course, they do not allege what conspiratorial statements were supposedly exchanged between any of the parties, other than to say that Mr. Stone met with Mr. Trump to ensure he “continues as our president.” Plaintiffs incredibly and without any detail also claim that Mr. Trump “knew” of the planning of the violence at the U.S. Capitol because of statements by supporters found on the dark corners of the Internet, seeking to implausibly impute his awareness of those statements. Id. at ¶¶ 66, 56-62.

Here’s that language from the amended complaint.

70. The White House was also in contact with the Proud Boys. An FBI review of phone records showed that, in the days leading up to the rally, a person associated with the Trump White House communicated with a member of the Proud Boys by phone.

71. At the same time, Defendant Trump was in contact with long-time associate Roger Stone, who was in contact with both the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. Mr. Stone posted on the social media website Parler that, at the end of December, he met with Defendant Trump to “ensure that Donald Trump continues as our president.” Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio confirmed that he called Roger Stone in early January. Members of the Oath Keepers agreed to serve as Mr. Stone’s security detail during the January 6 protests.

Judge Mehta, of course, has had front row seats as DOJ has continued to supersede the Oath Keeper indictments. That’s why his treatment of this exchange bears close notice.

The President also dismisses two allegations as weak and speculative that purport to tie him to the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. The court relies on neither at this juncture but thinks one may prove significant in discovery. The first is an allegation that “a person associated with the Trump White House communicated with a member of the Proud Boys by phone.” Thompson Compl. ¶ 70. The court agrees that this is a speculative allegation and has not considered it. The other concerns the President’s confidant, Roger Stone. Stone posted on Parler in late December that he had met with the President “to ensure that Donald Trump continues as our president.” Shortly thereafter, Stone spoke with Tarrio, and later he used the Oath Keepers as his security detail for the January 6 Rally. The court does not rely on these allegations to establish the President’s knowledge of the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers. Other alleged facts make that inference plausible. That said, Stone’s connections to both the President and these groups in the days leading up to January 6th is a well-pleaded fact. Discovery might prove that connection to be an important one.

He’s not relying on either of these allegations, and doesn’t think much of the first one.

I have always suspected that was a reference to Rudy Giuliani, who posted then immediately deleted and reposted newly-cropped communications with Proud Boy affiliate James Sullivan a week after the riot. In it, Sullivan proposed blaming the entire riot on his brother John. But Sullivan also spoke of at least five people who had participated in the riot (an “agent,” three Utahns, and Kash Kelly).

Kash Kelly remains charged by complaint over 13 months after his arrest. And other judges (Emmet Sullivan for John Sullivan, and possibly Randolph Moss for the most likely Utahns) are presiding over the cases in which this exchange might have shown up in some manner.

So unless Landon Copeland (also from Utah) is one of Sullivan’s Utahns, then Mehta would have little separate means to understand this reference, if it is even the one that came up in FBI toll records.

But even the public record of the Oath Keeper case has shown how close the ties between Stone and the Oath Keepers are, both in the weeks leading up to the insurrection in Florida and in the repeated calls from the Willard Hotel that morning. Indeed, Mehta may be persuaded of the plausibility of a conspiracy between the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys because of what he has seen of Stone’s role linked to the two, including in Kelly Meggs’ claims to have brokered a Florida-based alliance in December 2020.

And Mehta has almost certainly seen more of Stone’s role than what can be read through the redactions, particularly now that DOJ has spun off the part of the Oath Keeper conspiracy that most closely implicates Stone’s actions that day.

Judge Mehta didn’t rely on what he may know of Stone’s role in this conspiracy. But as the person with more familiarity about what the evidence is than anyone else, he suggested there’s a there there.

Update: Fixed “Utahan,” which is a misspelling I adopted from Sullivan before and which as someone who loved Utah when I lived there I really regret.

Related Posts

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Judge Mehta’s Ruling that Donald Trump May Have Aided and Abetted Assaults on Cops Is More Important Than His Conspiracy Decision

96 replies
      • Leu says:

        It’s actually spelled “Yooper.”

        But however it’s spelled, it’s a name I reject. We don’t need to be embracing hillbilly culture.

        • Rayne says:

          We’ll agree to disagree. There are fine universities in the UP, with well-educated college towns surrounding them. Both of my parents graduated from UP universities; my mother and I were both born there, still have a lot of family there. And we don’t have a problem being called Yoopers.

          The UP’s real problem is the steady rise of right-wing nationalism which has infected every part of this country including the rural portions of the UP where internet access has been limited along with broadcast and cable TV while right-wing talk radio has flourished. It has slowly undone the formerly staunch and historic pro-worker, pro-union culture of the UP.

          • Lady4Real says:

            That’s all really sad because the Upper Peninsula was on my list of places to visit one day, but it doesn’t sound too welcoming.

            • graham firchlis says:

              Don’t be put off. Beautiful country, great recreation, and the people are consistently Minnesota Nice which is all I hope for as a stranger. Marquette is a proper city, fully sophisticated, with a world-class university and associated liberal bent.

              Such bigotry as exists is largely in the rural areas, always been there like the rest of America, but nothing overt as in the Old South.

              Go, enjoy. Some very fine people were born there, even if she does sometimes smack me around!

            • Rayne says:

              Go to the UP. I’m there every summer not just to visit family but because it’s beautiful.

              I just don’t hang out in bars in remote parts of the UP which is generally a good rule of thumb anywhere in the U.S.

        • Rayne says:

          Please don’t lump Yoopers with Cheddarheads, thank you. Yoopers may cheer for Green Bay but it’s because they’ve traditionally had shit for TV viewing from under the bridge. And da’ Kitties are their closest alternative. Come on.

            • Rayne says:

              Too far away for fans, eh? I can tell you in Marquette I could only count on one local TV station, WLUC, and when the weather was just right, the Green Bay station WLUK relayed through Escanaba.

              Maybe the far western edge of UP got Duluth broadcast but it sure didn’t reach Marquette.

              • Frank M says:

                Reminded me of the Firesign Theater,
                “Can this radio get Duluth”?
                Ralph Spoilsport: “Duluth!, you can get Tierra del Fuego”!

        • Rugger9 says:

          It originally was part of Wisconsin prior to statehood, but was added to MI as compensation for the strip given to OH in the ‘Toledo Wars’, along about 1836.

        • Tech Support says:

          Please no. The last thing I want to hear at this point is rumors of large numbers of Green Bay Packers fans massing on the WI/MI border.

          • graham firchlis says:

            Happens every winter, for the snowmobiling. Land O’ Lakes would take a lifetime to explore, all of it glorious, and none of the folks I’ve ridden with paid any attention to that silly line on a piece of paper.

            Great fishing there spring and fall, too buggy in the summer. More bites then on my neck than my rod.

      • Rayne says:

        Please do not call the residents of the state of Utah “Utes” unless they are members of the indigenous people represented by nine extant tribes whose territory and hunting grounds ranged across what are now eight western states.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Also, that would refer to the University of Utah athletes in Salt Lake City, and would get you in deep doo-doo in Provo (BYU) or Logan (USU).

        • Eureka says:

          Hey Rayne, this part of the page is glitchy for me, perhaps not exclusively so FYI: your 12:01 PM has no reply button and earl’s reply is snugged up really close to your 12:01 PM (like closer than when, say, pages close and the reply buttons go away). Rugger’s 1:17 PM is cut off along the right side (though plenty of other comments down page extend farther to the right just fine). /novel event reporting

          ETA: after I replied (in line with Rugger, OTD already here), Rugger’s shifted left and is now fully viewable but _yours_ (including your name) is cut off on the _left_.

          • WilliamOckham says:

            Go to the main page. Click on the link to this post (not a comment, the main post title). That should fix the problem.

            • Eureka says:

              Nope, didn’t work (I should also note I’d already cleared cache, etc. several times. Also, that left-shift was ephemeral to my adding a comment and being in the edit window/having that element popped up. It reverted to right-side-cut-off thereafter. Such as now: your [WO] comment ends “pro” but I can infer the rest of that word.).

              Thanks, though. In the past if I’ve experienced a bug so have many, so that’s why I mentioned it. / Perhaps I’m alone now.

                  • Rayne says:

                    Are you on a mobile device? Android or Apple (I know you’re an Apple but I have to ask)? This might narrow down whether an app problem or a device platform problem.

                  • harpie says:

                    I’m getting it, too, on a lap top…but just in this particular location, I think.
                    [I’m sure this is just what you needed, Rayne… :-( ]

                    ADDERII: now it’s back to NOT normal.

                    Adder: But now, after I posted that comment, everything seems to be back to normal…

                    • Eureka says:

                      UGH, I didn’t click ‘save’ soon enough adding this below.

                      harpie, when you think it’s back to “normal”
                      after posting a comment in this area, look in this part
                      of the page and you’ll probably see, like I do,
                      that the more-LEFT comments (closer to the trunk of tree)
                      are cut off.

                      Like graham firchlis 1239p and Rayne 1255p (below). (etc.)

                      I am hard-returning a bunch here
                      in hopes my text will be visible.

                • Eureka says:

                  Because it shifts from right cut-off to left cut-off (when the edit window is open) there’s clearly something about delimited column (row) widths like a fucked up spot in a Word doc.

                  But then there’s also how your 1201p is missing ‘reply’ and earl’s is all snugged to it, too. [And how it seems to be only affecting children of that parent, so far as I can see. EDIT- scratch that, now that it’s left-shifted, other comments in this thread non-child to yours are cut off]

                  Unsolved mysteries, I guess.

                  [Okay, I’m seeing it now — there’s something going on with either WordPress or the site’s coding with regard to the post width on replies to a first comment. Not a logical problem as only some of the 2nd replies are cut off on the left, but 4th replies and later are definitely cut on the right side rather than wrapping. I’ll point it out to Marcy for discussion with developer. Hang in there and for now avoid going beyond three comments — no ziggurating./~Rayne 8:00 pm ET 22-FEB-2022]

                  • Eureka says:

                    Further clarifying, the left-shift remains after I make a comment until I refresh the page, _then_ it goes back to right cut-off. (i.e. it’s not like it reverts the moment the edit window closes).

                    • dejavuagain says:

                      I often read Empty Wheel on an Iphone. There css and site coding for multiple indented sub-replies for mobile is completely deficient. WebSite coders should first follow best practices of designing for “mobile first”, a common mantra – as explained to me by my wife who is a web developer for a large university. This is called responsive design. The design should be so that when an iphone is reading this site, there are minimal idents, and even using alternate highlights. Not so hard to fix. The behavior for smaller screens may be seen if you are using chrome to read multiple sub-replies by right clicking, then select inspect. Then move the left column over to represent smaller screen. I often have to move to desktop to read multiple levels of sub-replies. Have offered to work with your web designer to fix.

                      [Thanks for the feedback. /~Rayne]

            • harpie says:

              I just copied/pasted Rayne’s YELLOW response to Eureka’s comment [and it seems to have worked!]:

              [Okay, I’m seeing it now — there’s something going on with either WordPress or the site’s coding with regard to the post width on replies to a first comment. Not a logical problem as only some of the 2nd replies are cut off on the left, but 4th replies and later are definitely cut on the right side rather than wrapping. I’ll point it out to Marcy for discussion with developer. Hang in there and for now avoid going beyond three comments — no ziggurating./~Rayne 8:00 pm ET 22-FEB-2022]

              hahahaha…but it’s in moderation…LOL!

          • harpie says:

            I think these formatting issues are ONLY on the edges in that particular location…if that thought is of any use…maybe we just abandon that sinking ship?
            [Though, it is an interesting exercise to try to decipher what people are saying….]

      • graham firchlis says:

        I caught your reference, Dude. Now I have Marissa Tomai stuck in my head.

        Not that I’m complaining.

  1. Badger Robert says:

    Judge Mehta knows the criminal cases are going to fill in the evidentiary record.
    The US Supreme Court may try to protect defendant Trump from these cases, or it may wait for some other event to make a decision by them in these cases irrelevant.
    Thanks to Ms. Wheeler for posting in these tumultuous times.

    • Kit Traverse says:

      “There will be more squirming to come in powerful circles … ”

      As opposed to indictments, one might surmise.

    • Leoghann says:

      I saw that. Made it well into the second paragraph before my bullshit alarm began to give me a headache. I’m not familiar with Kevin Brock, but he’s obviously a GQP propagandist.

      • Badger Robert says:

        He seems to have been a Cold War FBI guy. But it seems, not sure, that he quit even before 2008. Was Mueller still the FBI boss than?
        Read the article, He writes in fluent consipiratorial dialect. Lots of innuendo and flowery adjectives.

  2. BobCon says:

    There has been a lot written here about some of the challenges that discovery in one case presents to investigators in other cases, such as here:


    As a non-lawyer, I’m curious whether there are any similar issues in this civil case with regard to criminal investigations. Do discovery requirements potentially cut both ways, with the Trump team getting useful intelligence on what investigators know?

    Or do investigators have wide latitude to withold information, or else delay release of information until their work has advanced to the point where release won’t harm them?

        • harpie says:

          [They have a memorial for former Arizona AG Grant Woods.
          Pet PEEVE: WHY WHY WHY do people insist on addressing Attorneys General, Post Masters General etc. as just GENERAL?
          THEY are not GENERALS!]

            • harpie says:

              It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard to me, and just makes people sound not serious. Republicans like JORDAN do that constantly in hearings. UGGGH! [I’ll stop now]

          • graham firchlis says:

            “WHY WHY WHY…?”

            Because it is their official title.

            Vivek Murthy MD is a Doctor, a General (US Surgeon General) and an Admiral (US Public Health Service Vice Admiral).

            So, Dr. Murthy is appropriately addressed as General Murthy, the honorific of his current highest-ranking office, even as he wears the uniform and insignia of an Admiral.


  3. Badger Robert says:

    OT: with Ms.Wheeler writing from Ireland, I think about the fact that Ireland is free and ruled by the Irish.

  4. harpie says:

    In that first allegation that MEHTA does NOT consider, because it’s “speculative”:

    [that] a person associated with the Trump White House communicated with a member of the Proud Boys by phone. Thompson Compl. ¶ 70.

    I wonder what Thompson means by person associated with the Trump White House [as opposed to “the Trump campaign”]. I know TRUMP didn’t separate the two, but think Thompson might.

      • harpie says:

        Agree about MEADOWS, but do you think Thompson would consider Rudy as “associated” with the White House?

      • subtropolis says:

        Not Meadows. They wouldn’t say “associated” with the WH. That fits Rudy, though. Or junior, who is my best guess. He’s stupid enough to have called Tarrio (or whomever it was) as well as just coked-up enough to presume that he can be besties with that lot..

    • WilliamOckham says:

      There was an NYT article last March that said the FBI obtained “location, cellular, and call record data” that revealed a contact between Trump’s White House and a member of the Proud Boys. Given the way this was phrased, I suspect it was a call between the PB member’s cell phone and an internal White House phone number. Now that the committee has the WH phone logs, we may get more information.

      • harpie says:

        Yes, thanks. That’s this one, I think…
        and NYT also says “a person associated with the White House”

        F.B.I. Finds Contact Between Proud Boys Member and Trump Associate Before Riot A leader of the far-right group [TARRIO] separately said he had been in touch with Roger Stone, but an official said it was not the same contact investigators found through electronic communications records. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/05/us/politics/trump-proud-boys-capitol-riot.html 3/5/21

        A member of the far-right nationalist Proud Boys was in communication with a person associated with the White House in the days just before the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. […]

        • Lady4Real says:

          Wasn’t Tarrio picked up by the police and then banned from returning to DC? I wonder if he is cooperating, as he has a history of working in concert with FBI investigations.

      • harpie says:

        I’m sorry. I’m sure I’m being dense.
        You did write that you “suspect” that was a reference to Rudy.

        But, if it is Rudy, I guess I would have expected Thompson to write “associated with Trump” or “the Trump campaign”, instead of “the White House”.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        The Rudy thing was after the riot. How does that implicate him in a communication before the riot? And, technically, Rudy wasn’t part of the WH. I’d be happy to be wrong. It just seems that the reference is more likely to someone else.

    • Leoghann says:

      My guess is that it’s considered speculative because, at this point, it isn’t known what the two people talked about. They could have arguing about pineapple on pizza or talking about the Dallas Cowboys.

  5. harpie says:

    This post reminded me of Sal GRECO:

    Social media reveals ties between NYPD cop Sal Greco, Oath Keepers and Roger Stone
    https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-nypd-sal-greco-oath-keepers-roger-stone-20210322-huunsm425veabegvdvavzbsdve-story.html MAR 21, 2021

    He swore an oath, but to whom?

    An NYPD officer under scrutiny for his ties to Roger Stone is “friends” with an accused member of the right-wing Oath Keeper militia [Joshua JAMES] on a cash-sharing app, the Daily News has learned. […]

    The headline doesn’t mention it, but GRECO has affiliated with PROUD BOYS, too.
    One photo shows GRECO behind Ethan NORDEAN. The caption is:

    Proud Boys members provide security during a “Demand Free Speech” rally on Freedom Plaza on July 6, 2019 in Washington, DC. Greco is circled in yellow. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

    STONE recommended GRECO [@Mesomorph21] [I don’t know the date of this STONE tweet.]

    [DATE?] I strongly urge patriots to follow @Mesomorph21 here on Parler. He will soon be exposing some within our own ranks who are actually plants by the Deep State! You will be shocked when he unveils each name one by one. He has been instructed to release the entire list if anything happens to me. FOLLOW @Mesomorph21. [PHOTO]

    According to the article, GRECO “has dined with” Bernie KERIK [in October 2020], who was GIULIANI’s “investigator”.

  6. Savage Librarian says:

    I’ve been thinking more about Rhodes’ adopting a Serbian model for his civil war. Previously I suggested we remember Robert Rundo (Rise Above Movement) who has connections to Serbia, Florida, New York, and California. I think he was not in the US at the time of J6. But I still wonder if he has any connections to Giuliani, Stone, Bannon or others associated with Trump.

    But we know Giuliani definitely has ties to Serbia:

    “The leader of the party that Guiliani met, Aleksandar Vucic, now heads Serbia’s government.” (11/16/16)


    Bannon also has connections to Serbia:

    “Throughout 2018, Bannon, met with far-right European leaders from Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France and Serbia.”


    And while thinking of Bannon, Mercer comes to mind. Robert Mercer also had a connection to Serbia (albeit more indirect):
    “Next, they cut a deal with Daniel Shea, who brokered arms deals in Serbia and Jordan and seemed a good option to help the Centre become, in the words of its executives, “the leading international supplier of arms and training.” The partnership ultimately collapsed, but that didn’t spell the end for Mercer’s dealings in weaponry. In 2016, the Centre moved into manufacturing.”


    • Leoghann says:

      Those meetings in 2018 were during the time Bannon was on the outs (or appeared to be) with 45’s administration. He was ostensibly making a right-wing tour of Europe to try to set up consultancies. In Italy, he also set up his short-lived training academy.

  7. Eureka says:

    Thank you much, Rayne (yellow above).

    _Here’s_ something to amplify from the wreckage of Mickelson’s shriveled nutsack-borne superego:

    Lisa Cornwell: “All this talk about Phil Mickelson, Saudi Golf, LIV Golf, PIP, etc. reminds me: #LPGA players don’t even get health insurance — they get a $1850 (yearly) stipend toward their insurance.”
    6:59 PM · Feb 22, 2022

    Maybe they can get a win along the lines of the USWNT soccer players — or at least medical with reasonable copays, to start.

    [Okay, try refreshing your browser window now. There was an HTML wrinkle which may have been resolved. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      Jesus Christ, $1850 would barely cover two months silver level on the Healthcare Exchange for one adult in their 50s-60s

      Would barely cover 6 months on bronze level for a 20-something.

      • Eureka says:

        IT’S FIXED!!!

        Not the women professional athletes’ healthcare but the glitch. Woohoo on that. But yeah that was the first thing I suspected — thanks for the numbers — that that cannot possibly add up to anywhere near whole with exchange math. Even with other-employer-sponsored (via a spouse), with perhaps better deds/copays, it would be cutting close and allow for no dependents. So that stipend (and the situation generally) made me think that LPGA assumes a “husbandly” — retro sic — provider.

  8. LeeNLP says:

    “Fixed “Utahan,” which is a misspelling I adopted from Sullivan before and which as someone who loved Utah when I lived there I really regret.”

    As a lifelong Utahn, I don’t know how anyone would take offense at such a misspelling. But I also deeply love the state, especially for its scenic deserts, in a way similar to what Robert Service tried to communicate about the Yukon in his classic poem “The Spell of the Yukon”:
    “Some say God was tired when He made it;
    Some say it’s a fine land to shun;
    Maybe; but there’s some as would trade it
    For no land on earth—and I’m one.”

  9. Tom says:

    OT – I can’t recall which program I was listening to, but a few days ago I heard a male someone on NPR question whether it wasn’t “getting into Alex Jones territory” to speculate if President Putin might stage a fake Ukrainian attack on a Russian border position to create a pretext for launching an invasion of Ukraine. The speaker seemed unaware that Hitler’s SS and SD (Sicherheitdienst) on the evening of August 31, 1939 arranged for just such a fake Polish attack on a German radio station near the Polish border using German convicts in Polish uniforms. After carrying out their assigned roles, the convicts were all shot and their bodies displayed for the foreign press as evidence of Polish perfidy. World War II began the next morning.

    Also, if I were President Putin I would drop the propaganda stories of finding mass graves of Russians allegedly shot by Ukrainians in the eastern separatist provinces. All this does–or should do–is remind people of the 25,000 or more Polish officers and civic leaders executed by the Soviet NKVD in the spring of 1940 and subsequently buried in mass graves in the Katyn forest west of Smolensk, as well as other locations, where they were discovered by the Germans in 1943.

    Enjoyed hearing a French diplomat on the BBC World News the other morning repeatedly refer to the Russian President as “President Poutine”.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Marina Hyde had a few similar choice words for Vlad the Impaler and his “grotesque self-pity”: “His face is now so impassive that it must have had an entire Real Housewives franchise worth of work.”

      The age has been awash with…politicians, from Trump to Kim to Bolsonaro, with their endless, aggressively maudlin demands for respect. Putin feels like the world-war version of every guy you’ve ever trodden on eggshells around…[T]hese sentimental hardmen are assisted by media [Lord] Haw Haws like Fox News’s Tucker Carlson or GB News’s Nigel Farage – guys with such an overwhelming yen for the respect they feel they themselves were denied…that their deepest human empathy is reserved for a foreign authoritarian also not getting his due.


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