Former Trump adviser Stone ordered to
appear in court over Instagram posts
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[February 20, 2019]
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Roger Stone, a
former political adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, was ordered on
Tuesday to appear in court this week over Instagram posts that chastised
and appeared to threaten the judge presiding over his criminal trial.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Stone would need to show
cause at a hearing on Thursday as to why the posts did not violate a gag
order in the case or the conditions of his release.
Stone, who is free on a $250,000 bond and is free to travel to certain
U.S. cities without the court's permission, has pleaded not guilty to
charges of making false statements to Congress, obstruction and witness
tampering as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of
Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Stone's attorneys filed a formal apology with the court on Monday, after
he posted a photograph on Instagram of Jackson alongside what appeared
to be the crosshairs of a gun.
He later deleted the image and reposted it without the crosshairs before
removing it again, according to other media outlets.
Next to the close-up image of Jackson's face, Stone said Jackson was an
"Obama appointed Judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges" against
Hillary Clinton. He also accused Mueller of being a "Deep State hitman."
Stone later posted a statement on his account saying the photo was not
intended to threaten the judge or disrespect the court. He also said the
image was not of cross hairs, but rather, the "logo of an organization"
often featured in many photos.
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Longtime Trump ally Roger Stone gives an interview to Reuters in
Washington, U.S., January 31, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo
Drew Wade, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service, said in a
statement that the law enforcement arm of the federal court system
is "aware of the social media post" allegedly directed at Jackson by
Stone, and the Marshals office conducts regular security assessments
for federal judges.
He added that the Marshals Service never comments on threats or
measures it takes to protect judges.
Stone's posts about Jackson came just days after the judge issued a
partial media gag order on Stone and his lawyers.
Friday's order prohibits them from speaking with the news media or
making statements near the federal courthouse about the case.
It does not stop Stone from discussing the case when he is away from
the courthouse, though it cautions that doing so may not be in his
Jackson also said in her order she may amend it in the future if
necessary, an issue that she is likely to bring up in court later
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Makini Brice; Editing by Tim Ahmann
and Dan Grebler)
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