WASHINGTON — A federal judge imposed a full gag order on Roger Stone, banning him from speaking publicly about his criminal case.
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U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Thursday after Stone attacked her in an inflammatory Instagram post earlier this week, which showed her face with what looked like the crosshairs of a gun.
The long-time associate and advisor to President Donald Trump will remain free, pending his trail. However, Jackson warned if Stone violates the new gag order, she will revoke his bond and detain him.
“Today I gave you a second chance, but this is not baseball, there will not be a third chance,” Jackson said after issuing her ruling.
Stone unexpectedly took the stand Thursday and apologized for his actions.
“I believe I abused the order, for which I am heartfully sorry. I am kicking myself,” he said on the stand. “I offer no excuse for it, no justification. It was the outgrowth of a lapse in judgement.”
Stone admitted he posted the photo on Instagram and wrote the caption. In an exchange with the judge and prosecutor Jonathan Kravis with the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, Stone maintained he did not select the initial image, instead he pointed to his “5 to 6 volunteers” that come and go from his Fort Lauderdale residence that serves “like a headquarters.”
Stone claimed Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the right-leaning Proud Boys Group and Jacob Engles, a Florida-based far-right blogger, had access to his social media accounts and served as volunteers.
He also said two other volunteers, Raymond Perez and Tyler White, maintained his Facebook online profile. He could not name anyone else who may have played a role in selecting the photo used in the Instagram account.
Ultimately the Judge said she believes Stone’s actions were deliberate, and she pointed to his inconsistent answers on the stand.
“As a man who has made communication his forte, Roger Stone fully understands the power of words and the power of symbols,” Jackson said. “There’s nothing ambiguous about crosshairs. Given the business he’s in, once you put something out there, it’s out there.”
Jackson had issued a relatively lax order last Friday, which forbade attorneys for the Special Counsel or Stone from making statements to the media. It also put an end to Stone’s courthouse press conferences.
Now, Stone cannot make any public statements about his case, the investigation, or any participants in the investigation. However, he will be allowed to solicit funds for his legal defense and say he’s innocent of the charges, but that is all.
The court proceedings on Thursday took place less than one month after a federal grand jury indicted Stone on charges of obstruction of justice, lying to congress and witness tampering.