Ex-Roger Stone aide refuses to testify before grand jury in Mueller probe

Last Updated Aug 10, 2018 3:58 PM EDT

Onetime Roger Stone aide Andrew Miller chose not to show up before the special counsel grand jury Friday so that he would be held in contempt of court and appeal to a higher court, his lawyer told reporters. The grand jury is connected to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and any ties to Trump associates. 

Stone, a longtime associate of President Trump’s, met with a Russian offering dirt on Hillary Clinton in 2016. The lawyer for Miller, Paul Kamenar, said Miller deliberately didn’t show up in court before the grand jury Friday so he would be held in contempt of court, and could appeal to a higher authority. Kamenar says Judge Beryl Howell has stayed her contempt order until Monday, so that Miller can appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court. 

“The government wanted to hold him in contempt. We agreed and the reason we agreed is that in order to appeal Judge Howell’s… decision, challenging the constitutionality of the special counsel,” Kamenar told reporters. “You have to have a contempt order in order to go to the court of appeals.”

“So, she obliged, issued the contempt order, and she stated until Monday by which we have to file our notice of appeal in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals,” Kamenar added. “Thereafter, the case will be briefed and argued to the court of appeals and depending on the decision there, this case is likely to end up in the United States Supreme Court.”

The crux of the matter, Kamenar explained, has to do with whether Mueller was properly appointed. Deputy Attorney General Robert Mueller appointed special counsel last year, after Mr. Trump fired FBI Director James Comey

“So this is a major precedent setting case,” Kamenar added. “It raises serious constitutional issues on the appointments clause whether Mr. Mueller was properly appointed under Article 2.”

If Mueller was not correctly appointed, that calls into question the legality of his client to testify, Kamenar argued. 

Kamenar told CBS News’ Steven Portnoy that his client has spoken with the FBI and provided documents to the special counsel, calling his client “very cooperative.”

Stone, in a statement to CBS News, expressed confidence in Miller.

“Andrew Miller has no knowledge or evidence of Russian collusion, WikiLeaks collaboration or any other illegal activity on my part,” Stone said. “I am confident that if and when he does testify, pending appeal, he will do so truthfully.”

The special counsel grand jury has been calling witnesses as the investigation continues apace. 

On Friday, the trial for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, a result of the special counsel’s investigation, concludes its second week. Prosecutors hope to wrap up their case soon, if not Friday.

CBS News’ Nicole Sganga contributed to this report.

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