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Judge rips into Roger Stone, bars him from speaking publicly on case: 'This is not baseball. There will be no third chance'

FOX News logo FOX News 2/21/2019 Gregg Re

A federal judge has barred former Trump political adviser Roger Stone from speaking publicly about his ongoing prosecution on obstruction and false statement charges, following a hearing on Thursday in which Stone said was "heartfully sorry" for the picture of the judge that appeared on his Instagram showing what appeared to be crosshairs in the background.

The image was accompanied by a caption referring to "deep state hitman Robert Mueller" and called his prosecution a "show trial."

On Thursday, Stone denied using his phone to post the image himself, and insisted that an unnamed "volunteer" was responsible. But U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, after a short recess, said she did not find Stone's apology to be credible and that she would issue a new, more comprehensive gag order.

Jackson had issued a limited gag order in Stone's case last week, preventing Stone from discussing the case near the courthouse. Stone was being questioned Thursday by Jackson and government lawyers as to why Jackson should not issue a full gag order, or modify or revoke Stone's bail -- potentially sending him to jail.

At one point during Thursday's hearing, Stone's lawyer, Bruce Rogow, called the post that featured Jackson's image "indefensible." Jackson replied: "I agree with you there."

The government is asking for additional restrictions on Stone's ability to talk about this case, while Stone's attorneys are requesting a more detailed court order that still allows Stone to be able to retain his ability to speak publicly about the case, citing his First Amendment rights. A final ruling from Jackson could come within minutes.

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"I am under enormous pressure," Stone testified. "I now have TV people saying I will be raped if I go to jail. I'm having trouble putting food on the table and paying the rent." (Indeed, CNN senior political analyst David Gergen pondered on air Monday if Stone -- whom he called a "dandy" -- would be raped in prison.)

Stone deleted the Instagram photo, but later posted the same one again, this time without the apparent crosshairs, and slammed the trial in a caption.

In court, Stone said he "didn’t recognize it as a crosshair" and "didn't notice" a crosshair in the image. Stone claimed a "volunteer" has selected the image, although Stone acknowledged reviewing the image before it was posted.

"This was a screwup," Stone said. "I admit it."

Rather than crosshairs, Stone said, he thought the image contained a "Celtic occult" symbol. But, he added, he wasn't sure what the symbol meant, because "I’m not into the occult."


Jackson reminded Stone before his testimony that he would be subject to government cross-examination and was under oath. Asked whether he understood the picture could be construed as a threat, Stone replied: "I now recognize that. … I can’t rationalize my thinking because I wasn’t thinking, and that’s my fault."

Former campaign adviser for President Donald Trump, Roger Stone walks out of the federal courthouse following a hearing, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Stone was arrested Friday in the special counsel's Russia investigation and was charged with lying to Congress and obstructing the probe. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Associated Press)

"I am kicking myself for my own stupidity, but not more than my wife is kicking me," Stone later told Jackson. He added that "my consulting business has dried up" and said, "I've exhausted my savings."

Stone acknowledged that "the posting was my responsibility, and I regret it. This was an egregious stupid error, for which I apologize again to the court."

Stone and his lawyers filed a notice on Monday night, admitting that sharing the picture wasn't appropriate and that he was sorry.

Stone pleaded not guilty last month to obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and making false statements to Congress after being indicted last month as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, was also ordered not to travel anywhere other than Washington, the Eastern District of New York, and the Southern District of Florida while the case is pending.

Stone is not permitted to have a passport in his possession or apply for any new passport. Stone was also ordered to return to court “whenever required.”

This is a developing story. Check back soon for more updates.

Fox News' Jake Gibson and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.


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