January 6 Committee and DOJ seek footage of Roger Stone from Danish filmmakers

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The Justice Department and House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol have asked Danish filmmakers for video footage recorded while tracking Trump confidant Roger Stone in the weeks since followed the 2020 election, according to emails and interviews.

Over the past three months, investigators have repeatedly requested access to a cache of 170 hours of footage shot for director Christoffer Guldbrandsen’s upcoming documentary about Stone, a founder of the “Stop the Steal” movement that culminated in gatherings before January 6. offensive.

This footage was cited in a March Washington Post report that described Stone’s activities that day, including inside the Willard Hotel where he and many other Trump allies were staying. The footage showed Stone communicating on an encrypted messaging app with leaders of far-right groups, and that he claimed at the time to be in contact with then-President Donald Trump.

Guldbrandsen declined the requests, citing the need to maintain journalistic independence and complete his film. The requests were made on a voluntary basis and Guldbrandsen was not subpoenaed. In response to subpoenas, two British filmmakers separately gave investigators on January 6 footage they recorded for documentaries.

“These are legitimate and important investigations, not just for Americans but for anyone in a democracy, but our independence from government and law enforcement is impossible to compromise,” Guldbrandsen said. in an interview.

A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment. A committee spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the report.

Stone denied having anything to do with the Capitol attack. He refused to testify and testify before the House committee, citing his right against self-incrimination. He sued panel members and AT&T in an attempt to block a subpoena for his phone records.

“Any claim, assertion or implication that I had knowledge of, participated in or condoned in any unlawful event on January 6 or any other date is categorically false,” Stone said in a Telegram post last month.

Guldbrandsen and cinematographer Frederik Marbell followed Stone, a friend and adviser to Donald Trump since the 1980s, for extended stretches over more than two years for their film, “A Announced storm“, which is due out this year. Guldbrandsen, an award-winning director, previously worked as a senior executive for the Danish public broadcaster.

The Danes stood with Stone as he worked to reverse Trump’s 2020 election defeat, and they joined the veteran Republican in Washington for pro-Trump rallies on Jan. 6, 2021. After violence erupted in On Capitol Hill, they filmed Stone crafting a proposal for Trump to preemptively pardon high-level allies for their attempts to keep Trump in power.

The January 6 committee contacted Guldbrandsen via email in March, five days after The Post reported on the Danish team’s findings, the filmmaker said. Afterwards, Sean P. Tonolli, a senior investigative lawyer for the committee, asked if committee officials could view his footage in Denmark. As Guldbrandsen reviewed the request and worked to complete his film, Tonolli followed up several times via email, most recently on June 14, according to copies reviewed by The Post.

In late March, Guldbrandsen said, a Danish police official contacted him to relay an FBI request for an informal chat. Guldbrandsen agreed, and a US official stationed in Copenhagen visited his office on March 25. A videoconference was held on April 7 with FBI officials in Washington and Copenhagen and Jeffrey S. Nestler, an assistant US attorney in Washington who is handling several January events. 6 cases of riot. Guldbrandsen was joined on the call by Michael Ulveman, a friend and media adviser who was previously an aide to former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

The call lasted about 30 minutes, according to Ulveman, and investigators expressed particular interest in video footage the Danish team recorded at the Willard Hotel in downtown Washington.

Guldbrandsen allowed Post reporters to view parts of their footage in Copenhagen last year. It included snaps of Joshua James, a member of the far-right Oath Keepers, inside Stone’s suite and in the hotel lobby with Stone’s bodyguard during the hours leading up to the riot, had previously reported The Post. James pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy for storming the Capitol.

After the publication of The Post’s article in March, Stone insisted that James hadn’t been in his suite. He claimed that the video clips featured in the story were “deep fakes” that had been manipulated and that Guldbrandsen was a Danish intelligence agent.

The Danish team also captured clear views of Stone’s iPhone screen which showed he had messaged on an encrypted app with associates including Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and Enrique Tarrio, a leader of the far-right Proud Boys. Rhodes and Tarrio, along with several members of their groups, are also charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the January 6 attack. Both deny the charges.

Stone did not allow Danish filmmakers to record it for a 90-minute period at the height of the violence, The Post reported. An assistant blocked a cameraman from entering Stone’s suite, claiming he was napping.

Investigators also expressed interest during the April call for footage filmed by Guldbrandsen’s team within two weeks of the attack, Guldbrandsen said. During this period, Stone lobbied for Trump to enact what he called the “Stone Plan” – a request for far-reaching preemptive pardons to protect Stone, Republicans in Congress, and the broader pro-Trump movement. prosecution for their efforts to annul the election.

Guldbrandsen said he told investigators he believed there was “no hard evidence” in his footage. Nestler responded that typically in investigations there is no hard evidence, but rather smaller clues that become meaningful when pieced together, according to Guldbrandsen and Ulveman.

The filmmaker said while he understood the importance of their investigations, his priority was to protect the integrity and independence of his film, Ulveman recalled. “If there was any cooperation between him and the FBI, it would taint the whole perception of the documentary,” Ulveman said.

Nestler emailed Guldbrandsen’s lawyer on May 9 to reiterate the request for investigators to view the video footage and emailed again on June 7, according to copies reviewed by The Post. “We are ready to travel to Denmark to do so,” Nestler wrote.

Efforts by federal investigators and the Jan. 6 committee to obtain unpublished information gathered by filmmakers and other media are igniting an ongoing tension between authorities pursuing prosecutions and reporters with potential evidence.

The Post and many other news outlets have long had a policy of not providing notes, recordings or other journalistic materials to law enforcement. These policies generally aim to preserve the independence of the press and to protect reporters and their sources from possible intrusions by government officials.

Although investigators’ requests to Guldbrandsen were voluntary, his attorney, Anders K. Németh, said they had prepared in case law enforcement moved in to seize the footage.

“Such a risk of use of force has been a concern Christoffer has had to live with for some time now, and obviously he has taken every precaution to ensure that any use of force will be futile if attempted. “Németh said in a statement.

Nick Quested, a veteran British filmmaker who followed members of the Proud Boys during the Capitol riot, was subpoenaed by the committee and the Department of Justice, and gave video footage to the two, according to court documents and committee statements. Quested also appeared as a witness at the committee’s first public hearing, giving dramatic testimony of what he saw on January 6.

Quested declined to comment for this report.

The Quested footage included footage from a Jan. 5 meeting in a Washington parking lot between Tarrio of the Proud Boys and Rhodes of the Oath Keepers. A freelance photographer who was also present at the meeting, Amy Harris, sued the committee in an attempt to block a subpoena issued to Verizon for her cellphone recordings. Harris, of Lawrenceburg, Ind., alleged in his complaint that the recordings would identify Harris’s confidential sources and “unacceptably intrude on his protected newsgathering activities.”

The Journalists’ Committee for Freedom of the Press and dozens of other outlets, including The Post, urged the committee in a letter to withdraw the subpoena. Harris’ photograph has been published by The Post, The New York Times and other national outlets. The committee must respond to Harris’ lawsuit by July 5. A lawyer for Harris declined to comment.

Separately, British filmmaker Alex Holder gave the January 6 committee footage he recorded for a three-part documentary series covering Trump’s re-election campaign and the events of January 6, he said in a Statement of June 21. Holder said he released the footage, which included interviews with Trump and his family, in response to a committee subpoena. He also testified privately before the committee on Thursday.

A lawyer for Holder, Russell Smith, said in an interview that Holder cooperated because he had no confidential sources to protect, noting that Trump and other officials sat down for on-camera interviews and that the people at the Capitol on January 6 revolted in Public.

“There was no duty or interest in protecting these people, and there was a compelling interest in providing the committee with potentially relevant information, so Alex felt it was his civic duty to come forward,” said Smith.

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