The federal judge presiding over Roger Stone’s case said Tuesday she’s considering gagging or jailing the longtime Donald Trump associate after he posted images on Instagram targeting her.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered Stone to appear at a Thursday afternoon hearing in Washington, D.C., to explain why his social media posts shouldn’t change the terms of Stone’s bond and why she shouldn’t impose harsh new restrictions on his speech.
Jackson last Friday issued an order allowing Stone to discuss special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 presidential election, so long as he does not do so around the D.C. courthouse where his case is being heard.
But the judge, an appointee of President Barack Obama, said in that order that she’d be paying close attention to Stone’s commentary and didn’t rule out changing the terms.
Stone, who faces charges of lying to Congress and obstructing its investigation into Russian election meddling, put himself in his latest predicament after posting an image of Jackson on Instagram on Monday with what appeared to be crosshairs in the corner.
He later deleted the photo and posted a new version without the crosshairs image. By the end of the evening, Stone had deleted that photo as well and his lawyers submitted a formal apology to the court.
“Please inform the Court that the photograph and comment today was improper and should not have been posted,” Stone wrote in Monday night’s court filing. “I had no intention of disrespecting the Court and humbly apologize to the court for the transgression.”
Jackson’s reactions in other Mueller-related cases could be a sign that Stone is in for a rough hearing Thursday. The same judge slapped a gag order on Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, as well as their attorneys, in the fall of 2017, just days after the special counsel’s initial indictment against the former Trump campaign chairman and his deputy. She also jailed Manafort last June — he’s remained in federal custody ever since — after prosecutors accused him of witness tampering.
Mueller’s team indicted Stone late last month on charges of lying, obstruction of justice and witness tampering and had sought a gag order on Stone out of fear his comments would impact the fairness of a trial. Stone has decried the case as a sham, calling it a “show trial” orchestrated by the “deep state” in his Instagram post.
Stone, who was released from custody on a $250,000 bond after his arrest, is currently under court restrictions that limit his travel to south Florida, New York and the Washington D.C. area. He’s also not allowed to contact any potential witnesses in his case.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
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