Either Roger Stone really wants to go to prison to act as some sort of alt-right martyr, or he’s already got the promise of a pardon from his bosom buddy President Trump.
What other explanation could there be for Stone’s repeated skirting of the gag order imposed upon him by Judge Amy Berman Jackson to refrain from commenting publicly about the investigation into his actions by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team or the pending criminal case against Stone or any of the participants in the matter?
The gag order was initially imposed on February 21st when Stone posted a photo of Judge Jackson with what looked suspiciously like the crosshairs of a rifle scope positioned near her head on his Instagram account.
Since then he’s tempted Judge Jackson’s patience several times, including by sending multiple messages to media outlets last week during former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s damning congressional testimony about the president saying that “Mr. Cohen’s statement is not true,” as he texted to BuzzFeed News, in clear violation of the judge’s order.
Judge Jackson also called Stone and his attorneys back to court today to explain how they had somehow managed — during the last hearing where she imposed the gag order — to fail to mention the imminent release of a new book written by the long-standing Republican dirty trickster that could also contain material that Stone is prohibited from discussing under the terms of his pre-trial agreement.
If those two transgressions weren’t enough to convince Judge Jackson to revoke Stone’s privileges and send him to prison until his trial date, one reporter for The Wall Street Journal discovered yesterday that Stone has been posting memes declaring his innocence using Instagram’s Insta Story feature which deletes posts after 24 hours of hosting them on the service.
Stone may have figured that disappearing evidence could shield him from retaliation for his violation of the gag order, but screenshots never forget.
He has used this image & language *many times* online and on social media. But this is the first time I’ve seen it since the gag order.
— Shelby Holliday (@shelbyholliday) March 3, 2019
Stone’s offending post has since been removed from Instagram, but it’s unclear whether it simply expired or if Stone realized the threat that its discovery posed to his freedom and took it down himself.
Either way, we should soon hear how Judge Jackson reacts to Stone’s behavior since the last hearing when she listens to his lawyers’ response to their failure to disclose the publication of his book.
By the end of the day, there’s a chance that Stone’s freedom to flout the judge’s rulings will come to a definitive end. While Stone has shown an affinity for wearing gangster-style pinstripes, he may soon have to adjust to the wider stripes of a prison uniform.
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Original reporting by Spencer S. Hsu and Manuel Roig-Franzia at The Washington Post.