Court Battles

Federal prosecutors allege Roger Stone violated gag order with Instagram posts

Federal prosecutors on Thursday alleged that Roger Stone is violating his gag order through social media posts, and requested that the judge overseeing his case hold a hearing to determine if he should be further restricted when it comes to commenting on his upcoming trial.

In a court filing, prosecutors pointed to several Instagram posts made by Stone in recent days pertaining to a court document filed in his case last month.

Those posts featured screenshots of articles about a filing in which the Justice Department said that it did not have a full unreacted report from the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, which revealed that Russians had breached the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Stone had been seeking the full report ahead of his November trial.

{mosads}The prosecutors argued in Thursday’s filing that the posts made this week are “commenting about this case and inviting news organizations to cover the issue.”

“This is a violation of the current conditions of release, and the government accordingly calls it to the court’s attention,” the court document reads.

The filing cites four Instagram posts made this week. In two of the posts, Stone tagged multiple media outlets, including The Washington Post and The New York Times. CNN and The Wall Street Journal were also tagged in one post.

“The posts refer to Stone’s filings in this case and they target the investigation that was conducted by the Special Counsel and FBI of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The posts, moreover, tag major media outlets, effectively calling on those outlets to cover Stone’s allegations,” the filing reads.

The prosecutors claim that the Instagram posts fall under the “sort of ‘strategy of attacking others’” that Judge Amy Berman Jackson had warned Stone against at a court hearing in February.

“And it is exactly the kind of ‘fanning of the flames’ that the Court warned could ‘incite others’ or impair ‘a fair trial by an impartial jury,’”  the filing states.

The prosecutors further warned that the social media posts “could confuse prospective jurors or color how they later view the actually-relevant evidence and understand the court’s instructions about that evidence.”

All of the images are still up on Stone’s Instagram account.

The prosecutors asked Jackson to hold a hearing to “show cause why [Stone’s] conditions of release should not be modified.”

Bruce Rogow, one of Stone’s attorneys, said in a statement that Stone’s legal team is “disappointed in, and surprised by, the government’s unrealized fears.”

“Mr Stone has limited his comments to matters widely reported in the news or public court filings. The government’s motion is ill advised and an astonishing overreaction,” Rogow said.

Jackson, who is presiding over Stone’s case, hit the GOP operative with a gag order in February after he posted an image on Instagram featuring Jackson with a crosshairs in the corner.

Stone said that he did not select the photo himself and that the graphic was not a crosshairs, but apologized for the post.

Stone was indicted earlier this year by special counsel Robert Mueller with impeding a congressional investigation, lying to Congress and witness tampering.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and will go to trial in November.

Tags Amy Berman Jackson Robert Mueller Roger Stone Roger Stone

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