It was just earlier this week that former Trump Campaign aide Roger Stone posted a photo of Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Instagram, along with an image of a crosshairs, in what many people on social media believed to be a veiled threat. Stone fell on sword after sword, saying he had no excuse. Either way, the photo Stone called a "random" one from the internet was found on some interesting websites.
On Instagram he had posted a picture of Jackson next to an image that appeared to show the crosshairs of a gun, with a caption that described her as an "Obama-appointed judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges against Hillary Clinton". She pointed out that he had said he didn't review it.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected apologies offered by Stone, both in writing and in person in a hearing in Washington, D.C. She added him to an existing gag order that prescribed attorneys and others from talking about the ongoing case.
But the judge said that he was unable to "keep his story straight" in court. Stone, who were appalled.
Jackson summed up: "Thank you, but the apology rings quite hollow ..."
He was let go with a warning.
During Thursday's tense and animated hearing in federal court in Washington, Stone took the witness stand to try to explain his Instagram post and apologize to the judge, repeatedly telling her he had made an egregious and inexcusable mistake. "I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand". The Instagram post had a link to Stone's defense fund.
If Jackson determines that Stone did violate the conditions of his release, the worst consequences Stone could face include being charged for additional crimes like obstruction of justice and sent to jail or fined.
Stone left court without speaking to reporters. "Stone is all talk and no action and this is all a big mistake".
Stone, who is now awaiting trial after being arrested on charges that including allegedly tampering with a witness to hide the details of his attempts to learn about releases of a trove of damaging emails stolen from Democrats during the 2016 presidential campaign, was ordered to appear in federal court Thursday to explain his social media post. Using the judge's photo alone would have been out of bounds, but the crosshairs imagery puts it beyond the pale. Stone further claimed that he had no "malicious intent" in posting the image and acknowledged that he should have not posted anything about the judge in the first place.
"I am kicking myself for my own stupidity, but not more than my wife is kicking me", he said.
The judge said she doubted Stone had learned his lesson and it was clear he needed "clear boundaries" about what he can and can't say to prevent potential jurors from being prejudiced. Stone admitted this wasn't the only image he had of Jackson, but said he deleted them to avoid the same outcome.