Judge tightens gag order on Roger Stone over Instagram post

Judge Am

y Berman Jackson was not impressed with Roger Stone’s contrite explanation for posting a photo of her to Instagram that included a gun crosshairs icon.

“There’s nothing ambiguous about crosshairs,” Berman told Stone in a Washington courtroom Thursday before ordering Stone to refrain from all communication about the charges filed against him by special counsel Robert Mueller other than to profess his innocence.

Stone had been under a partial gag order, forbidding him from holding impromptu press conferences outside the courtroom, since an earlier court appearance following his arrest.

After being ordered to appear back in court over the Instagram post on the judge in the case, Stone, an adviser and confidant to President Trump, was sworn in and attempted to explain his actions.

"I am kicking myself over my own stupidity but not more than my wife is kicking me,” Stone, wearing a gray double-breasted suit, told the judge.

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Roger Stone through the years
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Roger Stone through the years
Political advisor Roger Stone poses for a portrait following an interview in New York City, U.S., February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 03: Attorney Roy Cohn (c.) with Roger Stone (l.) and Mark Fleischman (r.). (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
American Ronald Reagan and Roger Stone at the Chrysler Plant, Detroit, Michigan, September 20, 1980. (Photo by Robert R. McElroy/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 06: Roger Stone speaks to the media at Trump Tower on December 6, 2016 in New York City. Potential members of President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet have been meeting with him and his transition team over the last few weeks. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MARCH 21: Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Lee Atwater are young political operatives who have set up lobbying firms. (Photo By Harry Naltchayan/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CORAL GABLES, FL - DECEMBER 09: Roger J. Stone Jr. discusses and signs copies of his book 'The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ' at Books and Books on December 9, 2013 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Vallery Jean/Getty Images)
CORAL GABLES, FL - DECEMBER 09: Roger J. Stone Jr. discusses and signs copies of his book 'The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ' at Books and Books on December 9, 2013 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Vallery Jean/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Roger Stone, Ex-Donald Trump Advisor, talks with Jonathan Alter during an episode of Alter Family Politics on SiriusXM at Quicken Loans Arena on July 20, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 18: Political operative Roger Stone attends rally on the first day of the Republican National Convention (RNC) on July 18, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in downtown Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The convention runs through July 21. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
HILTON HOTEL MIDTOWN, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2016/07/16: Roger Stone attends Donald Trump introduction to Governor Mike Pence as running for vice president at Hilton hotel Midtown Manhattan. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2002: Portrait of Roger Stone (Photo by Pat Carroll/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
American Ronald Reagan and Roger Stone at the Chrysler Plant, Detroit, Michigan, September 20, 1980. (Photo by Robert R. McElroy/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - AUGUST 19: Roger Stone attends Roger Stone Exclusive Photo Session on August 19, 1987 at Alan Flusser Boutique in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - MAY 12: Portrait of Roger Stone (Photo by Pat Carroll/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
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Stone was arrested in January in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election. He was charged in Judge Jackson’s courtroom with witness tampering, obstructing an official proceeding and five counts of making false statements. He pleaded not guilty, but then attacked Jackson in interviews and with his Instagram post.

"I recognize that I let the court down. I let you down. I let myself down. I let my family down. I let m\my attorneys down. I can only say I'm sorry. It was a momentary lapse in judgement. Perhaps I talk too much."

But Stone also testified that he couldn’t remember which of his five or six assistants had given him the image of Berman with the crosshairs, only that he had selected it to post on Instagram.

Stone admitted to having multiple images of the judge on his phone but claimed he “erased all the images of your honor because I didn't wan't to make the same mistake twice."

Asked specifically who had provided the crosshairs image, Stone demurred. "Nobody will own up to it," he told the court, and suggested that he initially believed the icon to be an occult or Celtic symbol.

Stone’s lawyer Bruce Rogow sought to keep the judge from imposing a gag order. "This is the only thing that has come up, that's caused him and all of us, that brings us to the court this afternoon,” Rogow said, adding that he found his own client’s decision to post the photo “indefensible.”

"I agree with you there,” the judge quipped in response.

Jackson took a 15-minute recess, which she said needed “to try to absorb this.”

When she returned, she made her displeasure with Stone abundantly clear, and told the defendant whose back is tattooed with a likeness of his old boss, Richard Nixon, that she did not find his testimony “credible.”

"What concerns me is the fact that he chose to use his public platform and chose to express himself in a manner that can incite others that feel less constrained,” Jackson said.

“So thank you, but the apology rings quite hollow,” Jackson added before announcing her gag order.

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