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.
Miller is a longtime associate of Stone and worked on Kristin Davis' campaign when the so-called "Manhattan Madam" unsuccessfully ran for governor of NY in 2010. Another of Stone's associates, a New Yorker known as the "Manhattan Madam" because she once operated an upscale escort service, was expected to make her first appearance before a grand jury in the case.
Nonetheless, Howell's 93-page order that required Miller to appear before the grand jury said: "multiple statutes authorize the Special Counsel's appointment, and the official who appointed the Special Counsel had power to do so".
Sources told ABC News last month that Mueller's team was pushing for more information on whether Stone communicated with hackers who targeted DNC computers.
Stone said in July he is "probably" the unnamed American described in the document as having been in contact with both Guccifer 2.0 and "senior members" of the Trump campaign.
Stone, a longtime confidant of Trump's, has always been a person of interest in the special counsel's probe: Several of his associates have been subpoenaed in the investigation in recent weeks.
An associate of former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone has been held in contempt of court after refusing to appear before a grand jury in the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation.
Miller did not appear for the grand jury, which prompted U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl Howell to hold him in contempt during a closed court hearing on Friday, said Paul Kamenar, one of his attorneys.
Jason Sullivan, a social media expert who worked with Stone, has testified to the grand jury.
The move also spotlighted a growing focus by Mueller on Stone.
Mueller's outreach may mean he is focusing in part on whether Stone may have had advance knowledge of material detrimental to Trump's 2016 Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton that US intelligence agencies have concluded was obtained by Russian Federation through hacking.