Judge Tightens Gag Order: Bars Roger Stone From Using Social Media

Judge Tightens Gag Order: Bars Roger Stone From Using Social Media

Judge tightens gag order on Roger Stone.

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A federal judge has banned Roger Stone, the longtime associate to President Trump, from using social media after finding him in violation of a court-issued gag order Tuesday.

In doing so, U.S. Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered Stone not to “post or communicate on Instagram Twitter or Facebook in any way or any subject.”

The good news for Stone is that Jackson did not send him to jail or find him in contempt, she said his behavior was more appropriate for middle school than a court of law.

“It seems as if once again I am wrestling with behavior that has to do more with middle school than a court of law,” Jackson said Tuesday, according to ABC News. “Whether the problem is that you can’t follow simple orders or you won’t, I need to help you out.”

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“You’ve shown me that you’re unwilling to stop talking about the investigation, which means that you’re unwilling to conform your conduct to the orders of the court,” the judge said. The social media ban lasts for the duration of the criminal case.

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In February, Jackson had imposed a full gag order after he posted a photo of Jackson with what appeared to be crosshairs near her head. Stone and his lawyers filed a notice with the court that said they recognized the photo was “improper and should not have been posted.”

Stone later said the photo was “misinterpreted” and that the symbol was actually a logo, not crosshairs of a gun. He said the picture was a “random photo taken from the Internet” and dismissed any suggestion he was trying to threaten the judge.

Over the course of an hour, Jackson went through a long list of instances in which Stone allegedly violated the court’s gag order with posts on social media posts or contacts with the media.

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Those include a statement to BuzzFeed alleging that some of Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony was a lie. They also included a series of posts on Stone’s Instagram account, including one related to public filings in his case and another criticizing the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of California.

Stone was arrested in January. He faces seven federal charges, including five counts of making false statements, one count of obstructing an official proceeding and one count of witness tampering. The case is part of Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The indictment alleges Stone was the middle man between Trump’s presidential campaign and WikiLeaks, which had damaging information on Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Stone has pleaded not guilty.

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Cover image: Bloomberg photo by Al Drago