Days after being issued a gag order by federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson, Roger Stone posted an image of the judge with what appears to be crosshairs next to her head. The former campaign manager and ally to Donald Trump captioned the image with a plea for cash and an unsubstantiated claim that the judge was chosen because she would be biased against him, according to a report from The Hill.
On Friday, Judge Berman Jackson ordered Stone to refrain from making any statements to the press that could prejudice the case. A few days later, Stone posted an image of the judge with a caption claiming that she had been appointed through questionable legal maneuvering.
“Through legal trickery Deep State hitman Robert Mueller has guaranteed that my upcoming show trial is before Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointed Judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges again [sic] Hillary Clinton and incarcerated Paul Manafort prior to his conviction for any crime. #fixisin Help me fight for my life at @StoneDefenseFund.com,” he wrote.
After about an hour, Stone removed the image because he claims that it was being misinterpreted. White House reporter for CBS Kathryn Watson spoke with Stone before he took the image down, and she explained in a series of tweets that Stone says intended the post to be a criticism of the way the judge was appointed to him, rather than having a judge selected randomly. He also said that someone who works for him posted the image and that he doesn’t believe that it violates the gag ruling issued by the judge. He told Watson that he intended to remove the image.
He later posted an explanation on his Instagram account for why he chose to remove the image.
“A photo of Judge Jackson posted on my Instagram has been misinterpreted. This was a random photo taken from the internet. Any inference that this was meant to threaten the judge or disrespect the court is categorically false,” Stone said.
Stone added that the crosshairs, which are often used to indicate a target, are actually the insignia of the original group who posted the image and are not meant to indicate that the judge is a target.
Later in the day on Monday, Stone’s attorneys filed a notice of apology with the D.C. court for the “improper photograph.”
Roger Stone’s attorneys have just submitted a court filing …apologizing for his Instagram post today that targeted Judge Amy Berman Jackson. pic.twitter.com/YkQqVim7e7
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) February 19, 2019
Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal called the post “stomach turning” and criticized Stone for threatening the judge presiding over his case.
This image is stomach turning. The real Roger Stone—criminally threatening a federal judge. Another Trump associate demonstrates contempt for the rule of law & the desperate need for accountability. https://t.co/ZdQauqiwyy
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) February 18, 2019
Stone was arrested on January 25 as part of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He was charged with witness tampering, lying, and obstruction.