Judge reprimands Roger Stone over inflammatory Instagram post
Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — A federal judge delivered a stinging reprimand to Roger Stone during a court hearing on Thursday, just days after the longtime political operative and adviser to President Donald Trump posted an inflammatory image to Instagram that appeared to target her.
The image Stone posted to Stone’s 45,000 Instagram followers featured a photograph of Judge Amy Berman Jackson with what appeared to be crosshairs in the upper left corner. A caption characterized Jackson as “an Obama appointed Judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges again Hillary Clinton and incarcerated Paul Manafort prior to his conviction for any crime.”
At Thursday’s hearing, Stone, who has apologized both publicly and in court documents, sought to take responsibility for the content of the post but maintained he did not select the image.
“I am kicking myself over my own stupidity, though not more than my wife was kicking me. I offer no excuse for it, no justification,” Stone said. “This is just a stupid lack of judgment.”
But Jackson continued questioning Stone about his decision to post the image, questioning why he could not have selected an image without crosshairs.
“It is your Instagram. So, it’s fair to say you are 100 percent responsible for what gets posted on it and not anybody else,” she said. “Do you know how to do a Google search? And do the volunteers who work for you know how to do a Google search? How hard was it for you to select a photo that did not have a crosshairs in the corner?”
Stone fielded questions under oath from both prosecutors and the judge for more than 30 minutes, struggling to explain the logistics of who selected the image that appeared on his Instagram page. He insisted that what the judge and prosecutors perceived as crosshairs was actually a “Celtic symbol.”
Special counsel prosecutor Jonathan Kravis then encouraged the judge to issue a gag order on Stone and suggested his testimony Thursday was “not credible.”
Last week, Jackson issued a “narrowly-tailored” gag order on prosecutors and witnesses involved in Stone’s case but left Stone to continue speaking publicly about the probe – as long as he refrained from doing so near the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C.
“Every time the defendant gave another one of those interviews he continued to amplify the media coverage and increase the risk to the jury pool,” Kravis said.
Stone’s defense team counsel, Bruce Rogow, sought a second chance for his client.
“What [Stone] is really asking for is a second chance. It should not have been done. It is indefensible,” Rogow said.
Special counsel Robert Mueller indicted Stone in January on five counts of lying to Congress, as well as witness tampering, and obstruction of justice as part of Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian meddlers in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
Stone has pleaded not guilty to all seven counts.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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