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Judge Bars Roger Stone From Talking Publicly About Russia Investigation

Roger Stone, longtime advisor to President
MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/REX/Shu

WASHINGTON — Roger Stone was prohibited from commenting any about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation — including the charges that he faces.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson placed new restrictions on Stone after he posted a picture of her on Instagram earlier this week that featured a photo of her and of a rifle “crosshairs.”

Stone deleted the post on Monday, and his attorneys later filed an apology with the court. In a hearing on Thursday, he again apologized, according to CNN and other media reports.

But Berman Jackson ordered Stone back to court on Thursday for a hearing to reconsider a limited gag order she imposed last Friday. It prohibited him and other parties from speaking to the media in and around the courthouse in a way that could prejudice potential jury members.

Her latest order is far more restrictive, as it applies to “statements made about the case through radio broadcasts; interviews on television, on the radio, with print reporters, or on internet based media; press releases or press conferences; blogs or letters to the editor; and posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media.” Stone also “may not comment publicly about the case indirectly by having statements made publicly on his behalf by surrogates, family members, spokespersons, representatives, or volunteers.”

At the hearing, Stone was contrite. He took the witness stand and called the Instagram post a “stupid lack of judgment,” according to CNN. The judge, though, said that the apology “rings quite hollow.” She also said that if he violates the new gag order, she could reverse his release on bond pending his trial.

The conditions of Stone’s release include not violating local, state, or federal laws, and to avoid contact with witnesses.

Stone was arrested last month as part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Stone is accused of misleading Congress about the nature of his contacts with WikiLeaks, and of intimidating a witness.

He has longtime ties to President Trump, and his political career extends to work he did for President Richard Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign. More recently, Stone is known for his striking attire and outrageous statements, including those he has made on Alex Jones’ “Infowars.” Since his arrest, he has lashed out at Mueller multiple times. In the Instagram post, he referred to him as a “deep state hitman.” He referred to Jackson as an “Obama appointed Judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges again[st] Hillary Clinton and incarcerated Paul Manafort prior to his conviction for any crime.”

Now Stone will have a blanket restriction on what he says, other than to profess his innocence. His attorneys argued that a sweeping gag order would have an impact on his livelihood as a public speaker on radio and elsewhere.