Judge bars Roger Stone from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

Posted at 2:18 PM, Jul 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-16 14:18:58-04

(CNN) -- Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Tuesday barred Roger Stone from posting on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter after finding he purposely tried to gain media attention while under a court-imposed gag order.

The ruling came after a hearing in federal court in Washington during which Jackson grilled Stone's attorneys and showed Stone's team multiple individual posts from the past several months.

"I've twice given you the benefit of the doubt. Your lawyer had to ... twist himself into a pretzel to argue that these posts didn't cross the line," she said. "The goal has been to draw maximum attention."

Jackson barred Stone 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.

Stone's attorneys argued on Tuesday on a case by case basis that the posts were not in violation, and that Stone had tried to "hew" to the judge's order. Prosecutors argued they are clear violations of the order, and that Stone's conduct poses a risk to a fair trial.

"Roger Stone has been saying more than, 'Hi, I'm Roger Stone,'" Jackson said.

Several times, Stone had shared on Instagram right-wing publications' stories about his case, including ones that highlighted conspiracy theories that disagree with US intelligence community findings, and had commented on Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff and former CIA Director John Brennan. On another occasion, he texted a BuzzFeed News reporter that a statement made publicly by Michael Cohen wasn't true.

Referring to her February gag order, Jackson said "The clarity of my order is undisputed," adding, "It didn't take a week before the defendant was emailing BuzzFeed, calling a witness in this investigation a liar."

Stone was charged in late January for lying to congressional investigators about his efforts to communicate with WikiLeaks as he sought to help the Trump campaign damage Hillary Clinton in 2016. He also faces charges of obstruction and witness tampering.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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