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Trump associate Roger Stone tells judge his Instagram posts didn't violate a gag order

Key Points
  • Attorneys for longtime Trump associate Roger Stone told a federal judge Thursday that his recent social media posts did not violate the gag order in his criminal case.
  • The feds are exhibiting "willful blindness" by focusing on three of Stone's Instagram posts, while ignoring "the tens of thousands of hostile-to-Stone articles" and other critical media focused on him, Stone's lawyers wrote in a court filing.
  • Washington, D.C., Judge Amy Berman Jackson had slapped Stone with a full gag order months earlier after he posted an Instagram image of the judge's face next to a rifle scope's crosshair.
Roger Stone, departs following a status hearing in the criminal case against him brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., March 14, 2019.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters

Attorneys for longtime Trump associate Roger Stone told a federal judge Thursday that several recent Instagram posts of his did not violate the gag order in his criminal case, despite what prosecutors say.

Stone's lawyer in a court filing accused prosecutors of "willful blindness" by focusing on three of Stone's Instagram posts, while ignoring "the tens of thousands of hostile-to-Stone articles" and other media critical of him.

Stone's lawyers said the social media posts in question do not count as statements that could "pose a danger to the fair trial concern which was (and is) the constitutional raison d'etre of the Order."

Washington, D.C., federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson had slapped Stone with a full gag order months earlier after he posted an Instagram image of the judge's face next to a rifle scope's cross hair. The beefed-up order bars Stone from making any public statements at all about his criminal case.

On June 20, the federal prosecutors called Jackson's attention to social media posts in which Stone was "commenting about this case and inviting news organizations to cover the issue."

"This is a violation of the current conditions of release," prosecutors wrote.

Those posts included screenshots of content critical of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, possible coordination between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin, and possible obstruction of justice by Trump.

Stone, a self-described political trickster who has long been a confidant of Trump, is currently free on a $250,000 signature bond, which could be revoked pending his trial on charges of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing justice if Jackson rules that Stone has violated his gag order.

Those charges are related to his alleged efforts to have the document disclosure group WikiLeaks release emails stolen from Democrats by Russian intelligence agents, including the chairman of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign, during the 2016 campaign.

His trial is scheduled to begin in November.

In March, federal prosecutors on Mueller's team flagged to Jackson another of Stone's posts that potentially violated his gag order.