Prosecutors: Roger Stone violated gag order with social media posts
Federal prosecutors in a new court filing Thursday allege that longtime Donald Trump associate Roger Stone has violated his gag order in his criminal case with recent social media posts.
“In the past several days, Stone posted statements on social media about this case and the special counsel’s investigation and appears to have specifically targeted those posts at major media outlets,” prosecutors said in a court filing Thursday.
“On or about June 18 and 19, 2019, the defendant posted to Instagram and Facebook, commenting about this case and inviting news organizations to cover the issue,” prosecutors wrote. “This is a violation of the current conditions of release.”
Stone was barred by Judge Amy Berman Jackson from making public statements about his case in February, after he posted on Instagram a photo of the judge with crosshairs behind her head. He apologized to Jackson, but she still warned him of severe consequences if he crossed the line of the court’s orders.
Jackson has given Stone until June 27 to say how he has not violated his gag order and why she should not change his conditions of release.
A violation of his bail terms, which allow him to live at home in Florida, could mean Stone could await his November trial from jail, depending on how Jackson responds to the prosecutors’ request Thursday.
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Stone has pleaded not guilty to seven charges of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering, all regarding his attempts to contact WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in 2016 in an attempt to undermine Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and help Trump.
Prosecutors, who are asking for a hearing on the issue, specifically noted how Stone had made posts this week on Instagram that attacked special counsel Robert Mueller and FBI investigations into Russian interference in the presidential election, and he had tagged major media outlets in those posts, attempting to draw attention to them, they say.
“Stone’s most recent posts represent a direct attempt to appeal to major media outlets to publish information that is not relevant to, but may prejudice, this case,” they wrote.
His posts this week focused largely on news coverage of filings his attorneys have made in the case, including an argument they’ve made — and that prosecutors and several other authorities have shot down, citing evidence from their investigation — that the Russians did not hack the Democrats in 2016.
One of the online postings Stone shared, from the website American Thinker, included the text, “As the Russia Hoax is being unwound, we are learning some deeply disturbing lessons about the level of corruption at the top levels of the agencies charged with protecting us from external threats. One Jaw-dropping example has just been exposed by the legal team defending Roger Stone.”
Stone commented on the article and shared it by writing, “Funny, No @nytimes or @washingtonpost coverage of this development.”
Prosecutors say rhetoric like this could influence potential jurors in his case.
More recent actions taken by prosecutors suggest Stone may still be related to an ongoing Justice Department investigation into additional crimes. He was not scheduled to appear before Jackson again until July 16.
This story has been updated.