When Judge Amy Berman Jackson imposed a gag order on Roger Stone, she warned Trump’s irrepressible former adviser that she would not tolerate another word out of him about his upcoming trial, on charges of lying to Congress and attempting to suborn perjury from a fellow witness.
Stone appeared in court Thursday to face the music for posting an Instagram photo of the judge with crosshairs near her head — the selection of which he blamed on one of his “volunteer” social media helpers, whose name(s) he couldn’t immediately recall. Handing down the gag order, Jackson insisted that Stone’s posting had been “sinister” and dangerous — “posing a very real risk that others with extreme views and violent inclinations would be inflamed.”
Jackson then laid down the law for Stone, demanding that his silence going forward must be nearly absolute:
[F]rom this moment on, the defendant may not speak publicly about the investigation or the
case or any of the participants in the investigation or the case. Period. The prohibition includes, but is not limited to, no statements about the case during radio broadcasts of his own. No statements about the case during interviews on TV, on the radio, with print reporters or on internet-based media. No press releases or press conferences. No blogs or letters to the editor. No posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or any other form of social media. And the defendant may not comment publicly about the case indirectly, by having statements made on his behalf by surrogates, family members, spokespersons, representatives, or his, quote, many volunteers, close quote.
Jackson informed Stone that he would be limited to proclaiming his innocence and to sending out fundraising appeals. “That’s the extent of it,” Jackson said. “You apparently need clear boundaries, so there they are.”
The consequences for violating his gag order, Jackson warned Stone, would be unforgiving. The judge committed to lock him up:
What all this means, Mr. Stone, is that any violation of this order will be a basis for revoking your bond and detaining you pending trial. So I want to be clear, today I gave you a second chance. But this is not baseball. There will not be a third chance. If you cannot, or will not, or do not comply with today’s orders, I will find it necessary to adjust your environment so that you don’t have access to the temptations posed by cameras, phones, computers and microphones.
The boundaries have been set. What remains to be seen is whether — for the voluble , excitable and stressed-out Stone — enforced silence is a fate worse than a jail cell.
(You can read the full, riveting, transcript of Stone’s court proceeding here.)