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Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson is set to decide Thursday whether to stiffen — or revoke — the release bond of Republican trickster Roger Stone for posting an Instagram photo of the judge next to an apparent rifle scope's crosshair.
The abruptly scheduled hearing in Washington federal court, set for 2:30 p.m. ET, doesn't bode well for Stone, a longtime friend and advisor of President Donald Trump.
The 66-year-old defendant could see his recent partial gag order expanded or his $250,000 signature bond modified by requiring him to actually put up that dollar amount with the court, or even more money to retain his liberty.
At the very least, Stone is likely to face a serious dressing down by Jackson for his recent conduct.
Stone's bail could be revoked, which would put him in jail pending trial.
Jackson has already made a similar move in the case of another target of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe. Last year, she revoked the home-release bail of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Stone's former lobbying partner, after Mueller accused him of trying to tamper with witnesses. Manafort is now awaiting sentencing after being convicted of multiple felony counts related to his consulting work in Ukraine.
Stone, who advised Trump during the 2016 campaign, was arrested in late January in a predawn FBI raid at his Florida home.
He is charged with seven criminal counts of witness tampering, obstruction of justice and lying to Congress.
Mueller has accused Stone of making false statements when he testified to a congressional committee in September 2017 that he had no communications with the group WikiLeaks. That whistleblowers' website published a trove of internal Democratic Party emails, allegedly stolen by Russian intelligence, in the late stages of the 2016 campaign.
Stone, a self-described dirty trickster who considers former President Richard Nixon his political hero, went on the attack after his arrest.
He was interviewed by Alex Jones, his fellow host on the right-wing conspiracy site Infowars, even before leaving the Florida courthouse where he appeared hours after his arrest.
Stone, who has pleaded not guilty, called his case a "lynching" perpetuated by Mueller. And he kept up the theatrics in the weeks after his arrest.
After he was arraigned in Washington, the sartorially obsessed Stone starred in a video posted by conservative outlet The Daily Caller explaining how to properly dress for court.
On Monday, Stone shared the photo of Jackson — a grainy, close-cropped shot of the judge's face with a crosshair symbol next to her head — on his Instagram account.
The post included a message criticizing Mueller and suggesting that Jackson was politically biased.
"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 against Hillary Clinton and incarcerated Paul Manafort prior to his conviction for any crime . #fixisin," Stone said in the post. He removed it within hours after it generated widespread notice online.
The scathing message came mere days after Jackson barred Stone from making statements to the media and in public that risked prejudicing the case against him.
The Instagram post spurred his lawyers to take the highly unusual step of apologizing to the judge in a court filings.
"Undersigned counsel, with the attached authority of Roger J. Stone, hereby apologizes to the Court for the improper photograph and comment posted on Instagram today. Mr. Stone recognizes the impropriety and had it removed," Stone's lawyers wrote in a filing Monday evening.
But the next day, Jackson wrote in her own filing:
"Defendant is ORDERED to show cause at a hearing as to why the media contact order entered in this case 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."