The reasons given thus far for Roger Stone’s pre-dawn arrest by armed FBI agents are utterly unconvincing. He was not a flight risk, as evidenced by the low bail and easy conditions of release set by the judge without objection from the government. Stone knew he was going to be indicted and if he wanted to flee, he had plenty of time to do so. The same is true of destroying evidence, wiping his electronics or doing anything else that would warrant an arrest rather than a notice to his lawyer to appear in court at a specified time. A search was conducted of various residences pursuant to a search warrant. No arrest was necessary to conduct these searches.
So, if there was no legitimate reason for the arrest and handcuffing of this presumed innocent defendant, what was the illegitimate reason? To paraphrase the indictment against Stone, the illegitimate purpose of the arrest was to intimidate the potential witness — namely Stone — into not invoking his constitutional right to remain silent, rather than to testify as a government witness.
The arrest was nothing more than a show of toughness — a foretaste of what Stone could expect if he did not cooperate with Mueller. Police do this all the time: “Look, we can do this the easy way or the hard way.” The tough arrest with handcuffs and shackles was a demonstration of the hard way.