A federal judge has ordered longtime Republican operative Roger Stone to court on Thursday to explain why he should not have his criminal release bond modified or even revoked because of his recent Instagram post showing the judge next to what appeared to be a rifle scope's crosshairs.
Stone, a self-admitted dirty trickster and friend of President Donald Trump, could be sent to jail if his $250,000 signature bond is yanked by the judge, Amy Berman Jackson, who is presiding over the criminal case filed against him by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Jackson, in an order filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., told Stone to appear in her courtroom at 2:30 p.m. Thursday to explain why a partial gag order she has imposed on him, "and/or his conditions of release ... should not be modified or revoked in light of the posts on his Instagram account on or about February 18, 2019."
Stone, in a text message to NBC News, said, "I will be present for the hearing as ordered."
Jackson last Friday had barred Stone from making statements to the media and in public that risk prejudicing the case against him.
But on Monday, Stone's Instagram account posted and then quickly deleted a photo of Jackson that had a rifle scope's crosshairs above her head. A caption on the photo said, "Through legal trickery Deep State hitman Robert Mueller has guaranteed that my upcoming show trial is before Judge Amy Berman Jackson , an Obama appointed Judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges again Hillary Clinton and incarcerated Paul Manafort prior to his conviction for any crime . #fixisin Help me fight for my life at @StoneDefenseFund.com."
Stone was angry that his case had been assigned specifically to Jackson, instead of a judge selected at random.
Mueller in turn had argued that Jackson should handle the case because a search warrant or warrants executed in the case was also executed in connection with another case overseen by Jackson. The other case, also filed by Mueller, accuses a dozen members of Russian military intelligence of hacking email accounts of volunteers and employees of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign."
In an apology to Jackson on Monday night, Stone said, "Please inform the Court that the photograph and comment today was improper and should not have been posted."
"I had no intention of disrespecting the court and humbly apologize to the court for this transgression."
Stone was charged in January with witness tampering, obstruction of justice and making false statements to Congress. His $250,000 signature release bond did not require him to post any cash or assets as security.
Mueller accused Stone of lying to Congress about his alleged efforts to have the document-dumping advocacy group WikiLeaks release material hacked by Russian agents from Democrats, including Clinton's campaign chairman, during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Stone has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.