Roger Stone violated gag order in Mueller case: prosecutors

In court papers, prosecutors cited several examples of Stone allegedly violating the terms of the order barring him from discussing the Russia probe.
Image: Roger Stone, a former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump, arrives at U.S. District Court in Washington on Feb. 21, 2019.
Roger Stone, a former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump, arrives at U.S. District Court in Washington on Feb. 21, 2019.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images file

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By Pete Williams, Tom Winter and Rich Schapiro

Ex-President Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone, who is awaiting trial on charges brought by the special counsel, is violating the terms of his pre-release by commenting on his legal case, federal prosecutors told a judge Thursday.

Stone, 66, was hit with a gag order in February after he posted a photo of Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Instagram with what appeared to be crosshairs next to her head.

In a new court filing, prosecutors cited eight recent examples of Stone allegedly violating the terms of the order forbidding him from discussing his criminal case or the special counsel's probe.

The social media posts cited in the court papers include an Instagram post from May 16 with the headline, "Roger Stone Swings For the Fences; Court Filing Challenges Russiagate's Original Premise."

A comment accompanying the post said, "My attorneys challenged the entire 'Russia hacked the DNC/CrowdStrike" claim by the Special Counsel in public court filing," according to prosecutors.

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The court papers also reference a now-deleted Stone Instagram post on June 2 that showed a picture of former CIA director John Brennan with the message, "This psycho must be charged, tried, convicted . . . . and hung for treason."

Prosecutors argue that the posts amount to a direct violation of the order that Stone not comment "in the media or in public settings" about his criminal case or the special counsel investigation. They ask the judge to schedule a hearing to show why Stone's conditions of release shouldn't be modified.

"The government is bringing this matter to the court's attention now because Stone's most recent posts represent a direct attempt to appeal to major media outlets to publish information that is not relevant to, but may prejudice, this case," prosecutors say in the court motion.

A lawyer for Stone, who was released from jail after posting a $250,000 bond, sharply pushed back against the prosecutors' claims.

"We are disappointed in, and surprised by, the government's unrealized fears," said attorney Bruce Rogow. "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.

The judge has vowed to throw Stone behind bars if he violates the court order, but it wasn't immediately clear if she will ll grant the prosecutors' request.

Stone, a longtime GOP operative, was arrested Jan. 25. in a pre-dawn raid at his Florida home on charges accusing him of lying to Congress, engaging in witness tampering and obstructing a congressional investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Following his first appearance before a judge, Stone gave a rollicking press conference on the courthouse steps.

But he struck a different demeanor in court the following month when he apologized to Judge Berman over the inflammatory Instagram post.

"Mr. Stone, I am not giving you another chance," Berman told him.