Prosecutors filed a motion Thursday alleging that former Trump advisor Roger Stone’s recent social media postings violated the court mandated gag order in his criminal case. In other words, Stone “could be headed to jail” ahead of his scheduled November trial.
We’ve seen this story before.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued the gag order in February, prohibiting Stone from making any public statements about the case after he posted a photograph on Instagram of the judge with crosshairs on it. Despite Stone’s later apology, Jackson warned that he would face serious consequences if he disobeyed the order.
Judge Jackson has warned Stone before that “This is not baseball. There will be no third chance.”
Prosecutors turned up the heat again on 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,” they wrote. “This is a violation of the current conditions of release.”
Prosecutors pointed out that Stone’s recent posts on Facebook and Instagram attacked special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigations into Russian election interference and specifically targeted a number of major media outlets in an apparent attempt to draw attention to the articles.
“On June 18, 2019, Stone posted a screenshot of an article about one of his recent filings in this case. The screenshot read: ‘US Govt’s Entire Russia-DNC Hacking Narrative Based on Redacted Draft of CrowdStrike Report,’” the filing states. “He tagged the post, ‘But where is the @NYTimes? @washingtonpost? @WSJ? @CNN?’ Later that day, Stone posted a screenshot of another piece about his filing with the title, ‘FBI Never Saw CrowdStrike Unredacted Final Report on Alleged Russian Hacking Because None was Produced.’”
Stone also posted other things: “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.” The article was tagged, “Funny, No @nytimes or @washingtonpost coverage of this development.”
It should be noted that prosecutors also said in separate filing Thursday that government investigators had independently verified that Russian operatives hacked the DNC in 2016. The filing was a rebuttal to Stone’s previous contention that the FBI relied exclusively on redacted reports from the cyber research firm CrowdStrike in reaching its conclusions regarding Russian election interference.
Prosecutors have requested a hearing on whether Stone violated his bail terms, arguing that he was explicitly banned from using rhetoric of this nature because it could influence potential jurors in Stone’s case.
Stone defense attorney Bruce Rogow reacted to the government filing by expressing his disappointment.
“We are disappointed in, and surprised by, the Government’s unrealized fears. Mr. Stone has limited his comments to matters widely reported in the news or public court filings.,” he said. “The Government’s motion is ill advised and an astonishing overreaction.”
[image via via Alex Wong_Getty Images]
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