Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued an order Tuesday barring Roger Stone from posting on social media, specifically Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. She justified the social media ban by claiming Stone broke the terms of a court-imposed gag order by posting on social media and reaching out to a BuzzFeed reporter to speak about his case.
“I’ve twice given you the benefit of the doubt. Your lawyer had to … twist himself into a pretzel to argue that these posts didn’t cross the line,” Jackson said, according to CNN. “The goal has been to draw maximum attention.”
Jackson presented multiple posts from the past few months drawing attention to his case. She had barred Stone from making public statements about his case in February after he posted a photo of the judge with crosshairs behind her head on Instagram. He apologized to Jackson, but she warned him of severe consequences if he crossed the line again. He was indicted in January on charges of working with WikiLeaks to interfere in the 2016 election. He also faces charges of obstruction and witness tampering. He plead not guilty.
“Roger Stone has been saying more than, ‘Hi, I’m Roger Stone,'” the judge said.
Stone had shared conservative stories about his case on Instagram. According to CNN, he shared stories that highlighted “conspiracy theories that disagree with US intelligence community findings.” At one point, he texted a BuzzFeed News reporter that a public statement from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was not true.
Referring to the February gag order, Jackson said, “The clarity of my order is undisputed. It didn’t take a week before the defendant was emailing BuzzFeed, calling a witness in this investigation a liar.”
While the idea of a court-imposed social media ban should not sit well with Americans, Stone’s flagrant violations of a court-imposed gag order arguably justify this extreme measure. At the very least, flagrant violations like this do not help Stone’s case.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.