Former Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone apologized to a federal judge on Thursday for posting an image on Instagram that depicted her with a rifle crosshair near her head.
‘I am kicking myself over my own stupidity,’ Stone said on the witness stand in a Washington, D.C. courtroom.
The famously slipperly Republican dirty trickster, suddenly humbled by the possibility of being jailed until his trial on obstructing justice, lying and witness tampering, said his quick digital outburst was an ‘outgrowth of the extreme stress of the situation.’
XCHARXThis was an egregious, stupid error for which I apologize to the court,XCHARX said Stone, 66, while noting that he didnXCHARXt create the image.
In a dramatic tongue-lashing from Judge Amy Berman Jackson, Stone admitted that he personally chose the image from among a group of pictures on his phone.
But he insisted one of his ‘five or six’ volunteers either texted or emailed it to him.
‘You saw it, and you said, “Okay, I’m going to post this?”‘ the judge pressed.
Stone fell on sword after sword, saying he had no excuse.
Roger Stone pleaded for his freedom Thursday before the federal judge whose picture he posted online featuring a gun-sight crosshair next to her head
If the judge revokes Stone’s bail, he will go to jail pending trial for obstructing justice, lying and witness tampering; Stone is shown at left before his court appearance on Thursday, and at right on Wednesday at his home in Florida
There are other possible punishments that the political operative and self-described dirty trickster could face.
Jackson could expand the partial gag order she imposed on Stone or she could modify his $250,000 bond in some way XCHARX either requiring him to actually put up that amount of money or she could increase it to a larger amount.
Either way, Jackson will likely give Stone a serious dressing down for his actions.
Stone has pleaded not guilty to charges of obstructing justice, lying and witness tampering in connection to conversations he had during the 2016 election about WikiLeaks and emails stolen from Hillary ClintonXCHARXs campaign.
He is charged as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s actions in the last presidential election.
Stone is allowed to travel between his home in South Florida, Washington and New York City while he awaits trial.
Judge Jackson has revoked the bail in another case involving Mueller. Last year, she strike down the home-release bail of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort after Mueller accused him of witness tampering.
Roger Stone returns from lunch to his Florida home
Roger Stone leaving his home for lunch with friends, including one wearing a ‘Roger Stone did nothing wrong!’ t-shirt
The image Stone posted of Judge Jackson was tightly cropped around her hair and face, showing a logo next to her head that resembled what a hunter might see through a rifle scope.
Stone shared the image Monday with a caption noting that Jackson was a Barack Obama appointee who dismissed charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and ordered Manafort held in custody pending his own trial.
He faces seven criminal charges that emerged from Mueller’s Russia probe, including five counts of lying to Congress and other investigators, and individual counts of witness tampering and obstruction of justice.
A separate federal law, 18 US Code § 115, criminalizes threatening to assault, kidnap or murder a United States judge. ItXCHARXs unclear if federal prosecutors will pursue that charge.
Roger Stone apologized for sharing a photo to Instagram of Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the judge assigned to his criminal case, with what looked like a depiction of crosshairs near her head. The post was later deleted
The federal court docket in the Stone case shows a formal apology Stone sent the court on Monday and Judge Jackson’s order hauling him back to her courtroom for a hearing Thursday
Roger Stone (pictured on February 1 in leaving federal court in Washington, DC) was apparently criticizing JacksonXCHARXs decision to take XCHARXno actionXCHARX on StoneXCHARXs objection that his case has been specifically assigned to her, due to Special Counsel Robert MuellerXCHARXs team filings that StoneXCHARXs case is closely related to another case currently before Jackson, involving 11 Russian military officials accused of hacking the Democratic Party’s computer systems in an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. Both of those cases share common search warrants and evidence, according to filings by MuellerXCHARXs team
Stone’s lawyers later filed a notice of apology in the case, which read: ‘Undersigned counsel , which 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’
An order appeared Tuesday morning on the federal court docket for StoneXCHARXs case, announcing that he has been XCHARXORDERED to show cause at a hearing to be held on Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. 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.XCHARX
Judge Jackson had previously ordered Stone to refrain from commenting on his criminal case near the D.C. courthouse where he will be tried. She ruled that he wasn’t under any other restrictions but wrote that she could revisit that decision.
Some responded with disgust Monday at the implication that a target was on the judge, with some pointing out that if he meant it as a threat against Jackson, Stone could be prosecuted for a felony.
Stone deleted the image after DailyMail.com asked him whether it implied that someone should target the judge.
He later said the resulting outrage was ‘misrepresenting’ reality, and his lawyers filed a formal apology with the court, signed by Stone.
The famous conservative political trickster has railed for the past week about the random drawing that assigned Jackson to his case.
‘Twitter has already suspended his account and this may land him in custody,’ George Washington University Law School professor Randall Eliason tweeted
University of Texas School of Law professor Steve Vladeck wrote: ‘This. Is. Not. Okay. (And if it’s meant as a threat, it’s also a felony)
Accompanying the now-deleted Instagram image was a written post that read: ‘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.’
Reactions came fast and furious on Monday.
‘This is both very troubling and remarkably stupid on Stone’s part. Twitter has already suspended his account and this may land him in custody,’ George Washington University Law School professor Randall Eliason tweeted.
University of Texas School of Law professor Steve Vladeck elaborated, writing, This. Is. Not. Okay. (And if it’s meant as a threat, it’s also a felony).’
After taking the post down, Stone shared screenshots of text mssages on his Instagram feeding, which read:
‘A photo of Judge Jackson posted on my Instagram has been misrepresented.
‘This was a random photo taken from the internet. Any inference that this was meant to somehow threaten the Judge or disrespect court is categorically false.’
After taking the post down, Stone shared screenshots of text messages on his Instagram feeding, which read: ‘A photo of Judge Jackson posted on my Instagram has been misrepresented. This was a random photo taken from the internet. Any inference that this was meant to somehow threaten the Judge or disrespect court is categorically false’
In a second follow-up post, Stone wrote, ‘What some say are crosshairs are in fact the logo of the organization that originally posted it something called corruption central. They use the logo in many photos’
The original photo of Judge Jackson which Stone used to accompany his post is pictured here
In a second follow-up post, Stone wrote, ‘What some say are crosshairs are in fact the logo of the organization that originally posted it something called corruption central. They use the logo in many photos.’
Stone’s lawyers later filed a notice of apology in the case, which read: ‘Undersigned counsel , which 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.’
With the initial post featuring the crosshairs logo that was taken down, Stone was apparently criticizing Jackson’s decision to take ‘no action’ on Stone’s objection that his case has been specifically assigned to her, due to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team filings that Stone’s case is closely related to another case currently before Jackson.
The other case involves 11 Russian military officials accused of hacking the Democratic Party’s computer systems in an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Both of those cases share common search warrants and evidence, according to filings by Mueller’s team.
Mueller’s office revealed for the first time on Friday that it is in the possession of evidence that Stone communicated with WikiLeaks regarding the release of hacked Democratic Party emails.
In a court filing on Friday, MuellerXCHARXs office said it had gathered that evidence in a separate probe into Russian intelligence officers who were charged by the special counsel for hacking the emails during the 2016 presidential campaign and staging their release.
Stone responded to reports about the communications by saying the evidence was merely ‘innocuous Twitter direct messages’ that have already been disclosed to the House Intelligence Committee and ‘prove absolutely nothing’.
The longtime adviser to President Donald Trump was indicted last month for lying to Congress about his communications with other parties about the hacked emails. He pleaded not guilty.
Stone previously acknowledged having had brief exchanges with both WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0, but maintains that he never had advance knowledge about the emailsXCHARX release.
MuellerXCHARXs office is in possession of evidence that Roger Stone communicated with WikiLeaks regarding the release of hacked Democratic Party emails ahead of the 2016 presidential election, prosecutors revealed in a court filing on Friday. Stone, a longtime adviser to Trump, responded to reports about the communications by saying the evidence was merely XCHARXinnocuous Twitter direct messagesXCHARX that have already been disclosed to the House Intelligence Committee and XCHARXprove absolutely nothingXCHARX
‘The government obtained and executed dozens of search warrants on various accounts used to facilitate the transfer of stolen documents for release, as well as to discuss the timing and promotion of their release,’ Mueller’s team wrote in the latest filing in the US District Court in Washington, DC.
XCHARXSeveral of those search warrants were executed on accounts that contained StoneXCHARXs communications with Guccifer 2.0 and with Organization 1.XCHARX
Organization 1 is a reference to WikiLeaks, while Guccifer 2.0 is a hacker persona US intelligence agencies say was a cover name used by Russian military intelligence.
WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 each published emails and other documents from the Democratic Party in 2016 in an operation that Mueller alleges was part of a Kremlin-backed effort to tip the election in favor of then Republican nominee Trump.
WikiLeaks has previously denied any ties to or cooperation with Russia.
Stone was indicted last month for lying to Congress about his communications with other parties about the hacked emails. He pleaded not guilty. On Friday, Jackson barred him from making statements on the courthouse steps that might prejudice a jury
Also on Friday, the federal judge overseeing Stone’s case barred him from making statements on the courthouse steps that might prejudice a jury or witness in his case.
The order by Jackson further gagged lawyers on both sides from statements that might impact the case.
‘Counsel for the parties and the witnesses must refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case,’ Jackson wrote.
But in the case of Stone, who has been ubiquitous in the media since his indictment, her order was narrower, prohibiting him from making his case to the public or the media while on the courthouse steps or nearby.
WHAT ROGER STONE IS CHARGED WITH BY ROBERT MUELLER
One count of obstruction: Mueller says Stone denied to Congress that he had emails and documents about WikiLeaks related contacted
Maximum possible sentence: 20 years
Five counts of lying to Congress: Mueller details specific statements Stone made to Congress which the Special Counsel alleges are each lies
Maximum possible sentence for each count: Five years
One count of witness tampering: Mueller alleges Stone tried to convince comedian Randy Credico to either lie to Congress or plead the Fifth by threatening him
Maximum possible sentence: 20 years
All parties, including Stone and potential witnesses, must refrain from certain statements about the case when they ‘are entering or exiting the courthouse, or they are within the immediate vicinity of the courthouse’.
The prohibition applies to statements to the media or the public that ‘pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case or intended to influence any juror, potential juror, judge, witness or court officer or interfere with the administration of justice’.
Stone, who has blasted the FBI and the Mueller probe since his indictment, while hawking his book and wearing ‘Roger Stone Did Nothing Wrong’ t-shirts, will now have be conscious of where he is when he speaks.
As if anticipating a potential gag order, Stone gave a series of TV interviews immediately following his arrest, and took a somewhat lower profile after his court hearing in Washington where a potential gag was discussed.
Stone has made efforts to bash the prosecutors who charged him, railing against ‘Gestapo’ tactics in his arrest, which included use of armed agents, and according to Stone ‘frog men’ positioned in a canal behind his Ft Lauderdale home.
He has not said publicly that he is seeking a pardon from President Trump, saying the only person he is seeking relief for is Marcus Garvey. Although the judge mentioned the potential for prejudice – influencing a jury that might hear the case – Stone had other reasons to talk.
He regularly complains about his mounting legal debts, and relies on his attacks on adversaries and the mainstream media to raise funds.
Since those statements have been in TV interviews and online appearances, they do not appear to be impacted by the current order – although it could be modified later. The order stated there will be no additional restrictions ‘at this time.’
In a recent appearances on ‘Infowars,’ he called CNN host Anna Navarro, ‘porquita,’ blasted CNN host Don Lemon, and railed against ‘leftist retards.’
He is in a prolonged public spat with Mueller witness Jerome Corsi over the chain of events and WikiLeaks contacts during the campaign.
Stone is accused of witness tampering by launching online threats against comedian Randy Credico, including threatening his dog, according to the government.