Politics

Special counsel Robert Mueller notifies judge that Trump friend Roger Stone posted Instagram image that could violate gag order

Key Points
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller notifies a federal judge about an Instagram post by President Donald Trump's friend Roger Stone that could be in violation of the judge's strict gag order on Stone.
  • The filing by Mueller notes CNBC's story on Sunday detailing the post by Stone, which contained an image of him under the words "Who framed Roger Stone."
  • Stone, 66, is barred from commenting on Mueller's team of prosecutors under the gag order imposed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson in late February.
Roger Stone, a former adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, leaves the Prettyman United States Courthouse after a hearing February 1, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson | Getty Images

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Monday notified a federal judge about an Instagram post by President Donald Trump's friend Roger Stone that could be in violation of the judge's strict gag order on Stone.

The filing by Mueller cited CNBC's story on Sunday detailing the post by Stone, which contained an image of him under the words "Who framed Roger Stone."

Mueller did not ask Judge Amy Berman Jackson to find that Stone broke her gag order.

Stone, 66, is barred from criticizing Mueller's team of prosecutors under the gag imposed Feb. 21 after the longtime Republican operative posted an Instagram image of Jackson's face next to a rifle scope's crosshair.

Stone, a self-described "dirty trickster," told Jackson during a court hearing on that post that it was an "egregious, stupid mistake" and said "I am hurtfully sorry for my own stupidity."

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At the same Feb. 21 hearing, the judge warned him: "Today, I gave you a second chance. This is not baseball, you don't get a third chance."

If Jackson finds that Stone, who is currently free on a $250,000 signature bond, violated that order, she could have him jailed without bail pending his trial on charges of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing justice.

Stone on Sunday deleted the "Who framed Roger Stone" image from a series of other rotating images on his Instagram story shortly after CNBC sent an email to his lawyer asking about it.

The other images suggested that people donate to Stone's legal defense fund, with one saying, "I am committed to proving my innocence. But I need your help," and another saying, "I've always had Trump's back. Will you have mine?"

"We note for the Court that according to public reporting, on March 3, 2019, the defendant's Instagram account shared an image with the title 'who framed Roger Stone.' A copy of the image is submitted under seal as Exhibit C," Mueller said in the court filing in federal court in Washington, D.C.

CNBC's story on the image is referenced in a footnote in that filing.

Stone posted the "Framed" Instagram image two days after Jackson ordered his defense lawyers to explain why they did not tell her about the planned publication of a book by Stone that could violate her gag order. The book is entitled "The Myth of Russian Collusion: The Inside Story of How Trump Really Won."

Jackson's gag order prohibits Stone from "making statements to the media or in public settings about the Special Counsel's investigation or this case or any of the participants in the investigation or the case."

The gag covers "posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other form of social media," as well as other forms of communication.

In his new book, The Washington Post reported Monday, Stone writes: "I now find myself on Crooked Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's hit list because I have advised Donald Trump for the past forty years. I am being targeted not because I committed a crime, but because the Deep State liberals want to silence me and pressure me to testify against my good friend."

Mueller's spokesman, who had declined to comment to CNBC on Stone's post Sunday, declined to comment Monday on the special counsel's filing Monday.

Stone's lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier Monday, Stone's attorneys told Jackson in a filing that they believed his new book, which has an updated introduction discussing his case, should be allowed to be published because it was written and edited before the judge issued her gag order.

His attorneys write that Stone's publication of the book "should not be viewed as contravening the Court's prohibitions because these prohibitions were not extant and could not have been known prior to February 21, 2019."

But Mueller's filing afterward noted that, "A preview of the defendant's book, including the updated Introduction referenced in the defendant's Motion to Clarify, is currently publicly available on Amazon.com and Google Books."

Stone was arrested in January. He has pleaded not guilty in the case.

Mueller claims Stone lied to Congress about his alleged effort to get the document collection group WikiLeaks to release emails hacked by Russian agents from Democrats, including Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Stone is alleged to have been in contact with top-ranking Trump campaign officials about efforts to leak damaging information about Clinton.

— Additional reporting by Kevin Breuninger