Judge Bans Former Trump Advisor Roger Stone From All Social Media For Violating Gag Order
A federal judge has banned former Trump advisor Roger Stone from all social media on the grounds that he repeatedly violated a gag order issued in February preventing him from discussing his case.
The Washington D.C. judge, Amy Berman Jackson, announced that Stone’s conduct had finally crossed the line. “I’ve twice given you the benefit of the doubt. Your lawyer had to … twist himself into a pretzel to argue that these posts didn’t cross the line,” said Jackson. “The goal has been to draw maximum attention.”
Jackson first placed the gag order earlier this year after Stone posted a photo on his Instagram of the judge with crosshairs next to her head. “There’s nothing ambiguous about crosshairs,” said Jackson in a February 21 hearing.
Since the issue of his gag order, Stone has repeatedly shared posts by far-right media outlets containing conspiracy theories about his case and the larger probe into Donald Trump by House committees. Jackson spent the three hours of the hearing tedious reading out each post made by Stone, including one where he implied she should be hung for treason, and asked his lawyer whether his client had made each post from his personal account.
After taking a brief recess, Jackson returned and announced that she was expanding the gag order on Stone to include all forms of social media, preventing him from speaking out about his case entirely. He was also no longer allowed to have surrogates or aides provide public statements on his behalf. The judge recognized that Stone was attempting to influence the proceedings by drawing public attention to his trial, hoping to put public pressure on Jackson and to delegitimize the accusations against him.
Stone is on trial for lying to federal investigators about communicating with WikiLeaks in order to obtain evidence against Hillary Clinton that would help Trump. He also faces charges of witness tampering and obstruction of justice, all of which he has pleaded not guilty to.