WASHINGTON (CN) – Roger Stone’s legal team Thursday called the government’s accusation that he violated his gag order by posting to social media a “disproportionate response” and “oxymoronic.”
Stone’s attorneys said in a new court filing that Stone was merely exercising his First Amendment right with certain Instagram posts earlier this month.
The allegations leveled by federal prosecutors last week called for U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to hold a hearing to discuss modifying the conditions of Stone’s pretrial release.
Berman Jackson first issued the gag order – barring Stone from making public statements on his case or on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation – after the president’s long-time ally posted an image of her in February with what appeared to be crosshairs of a gun sight by her head.
Stone’s attorneys said he did not violate the judge’s order.
“The 2,402 ‘likes’ of the June 18-19 Stone postings are but a speck compared to the torrent of publicity, commentary and commotion generated by persons, publications and politicians over which, and over whom, Stone has no control,” the response states.
The government said Stone’s posts appeared to target major news outlets to generate coverage, tagging, among others, The New York Times and The Washington Post.
“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 government’s June 20 filing states.
Breaking down each of Stone’s posts, his attorneys repeatedly note he was commenting on news coverage of the special counsel’s investigation and not creating new content of his own.
“Stone’s language may be indecorous at times, but that does not obscure the content’s non-culpability under the Order. Criticism of the media is not a violation of the Order,” the new filing states.
Stone’s attorney’s argue he is a minor participant in the “spectacle” created by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Stone faces charges of obstruction of an official proceeding, witness tampering, and lying to Congress about his work seeking information about hacked emails WikiLeaks published that were damaging to President Donald Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.