WASHINGTON (CN) – Federal prosecutors said Thursday that Roger Stone violated his gag order this week when he hopped on Facebook and Instagram to post content the government believes was calculated to generate news coverage.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson barred Stone from making public statements on his case or Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation – specifically prohibiting Instagram, Facebook and Twitter posts – after he posted an image of her in February with a crosshairs of a gun apparently positioned behind her head.
Prosecutors argued in a court filing Thursday that recent social media activity by President Donald Trump’s close confidant appeared to target major news outlets.
“It is exactly the kind of ‘fanning of the flames’ that the court warned could ‘incite others’ or impair ‘a fair trial by an impartial jury,’” the new filing reads, citing the Feb. court order.
On June 18, Stone posted a screenshot of an article headlined “US Govt’s Entire Russia-DNC Hacking Narrative Based on Redacted Draft of CrowdStrike Report.” He tagged the post “But where is the @NYTimes? @washingtonpost? @WSJ? @CNN?”
Two more posts followed the same day, including a shared article that lauded his legal team for supposedly uncovering “deeply disturbing lessons” on government corruption surrounding the “Russia Hoax.”
Again Stone tagged the article “Funny, No @nytimes or @washingtonpost coverage of this development.”
A fourth post came on June 19, marked by a hashtag with a phrase commonly used by President Donald Trump: “The truth is slowly emerging. #NoCollusion.”
The detailed posts led prosecutors to conclude Stone published the content with the intent of stirring up discussion ahead of trial.
The prosecutors asked Berman to bar Stone from making a circus of the proceedings and tainting the jury pool with irrelevant information.
“At best, Stone’s efforts could create the misimpression that this case is about issues that are not charged in the Indictment,” prosecutors wrote. “But worse, it could confuse prospective jurors or color how they later view the actually-relevant evidence and understand the court’s instructions about that evidence.”
Given Stone’s disregard for the order, prosecutors want Berman to schedule a hearing to discuss modifying the conditions of Stone’s pretrial release.
Currently, Stone’s next scheduled appearance is set for July 16. He’s pleaded not guilty to seven charges of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering, involving his attempts to contact WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in 2016 in an attempt to undermine Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and help Trump.