Special Counsel Robert Mueller
Credit: James Ledbetter/Flickr

From the sound of things, Andrew Miller worked as some kind of executive assistant for Roger Stone–helping him book media appearances, handling email that came in unsolicited to his website. The special counsel’s investigators want him to appear before a grand jury and he has refused to comply, leading to a contempt of court ruling being issued today by a district court judge.

There are some interesting facets to this development. When he was first approached by Mueller’s investigators, Miller complied and sat with them for a brief meeting without raising any legal objections or concerns.  He also agreed to come back for a longer and more formal interview. But then outsiders intervened.

An organization called the National Legal and Policy Center, chaired by Peter Flaherty, stepped up with an offer to pay Miller’s legal fees. Lawyers got involved, including  Alicia Dearn and Paul Kamenar. Dearn appears to be former counsel to Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and a losing candidate for the 2016 vice-presidential slot on the Libertarian Party’s slate. Kamenar works for the Federalist Society.

They contend that their client does not have to submit to Mueller’s grand jury request because his inquiry is unconstitutional. They actually welcomed having Mr. Miller cited for contempt and plan to appeal it all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary.

Miller’s lawyer Paul Kamenar said after the hearing that Miller was “held in contempt, which we asked him to be in order for us to appeal the judge’s decision to the court of appeals.”

Howell stayed her order while Miller’s legal team appeals the judge’s decision.

Miller lost a court battle earlier this month to quash a subpoena, after Howell issued a 93-page opinion saying Miller must testify before the grand jury.

Kamenar said he believes Miller’s challenge could ultimately rise to the Supreme Court.

In the interim, Mr. Miller suddenly decided that he wanted a grant of immunity:

Miller had asked for “some grant of immunity” regarding financial transactions involving political action committees for which he assisted Stone, according to Alicia Dearn, an attorney for Miller.

On that issue, Miller “would be asserting” his Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer questions, Dearn said.

According to court documents, the special counsel wants to question Miller about his knowledge of Stone’s relationship with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, as well as with Russian military intelligence fronts DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0. They must be hot on the trail of something, and I suspect they already know many of the answers to the questions they have for Miller.

To say the least, it’s not helpful to Trump or Stone to have headlines like: Judge holds Roger Stone associate in contempt for refusing to testify in Russia investigation in the Washington Post, so whatever they’re hiding must be far worse. It looks like Miller has become a pawn in a much larger game, and he’s probably thrown in with the wrong side.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com