Feb. 21 (UPI) — A federal judge in Washington, D.C., allowed political operative Roger Stone to remain out of jail but imposed a stricter gag order on him Thursday in his case linked to the Russia investigation.
District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered Stone to return to court this week after he posted a photo to Instagram depicting the judge with a crosshairs target next to her head.
In the post, Stone called special counsel Robert Mueller a “Deep State hitman” and said Berman Jackson is a President Barack Obama appointee who dismissed charges against Hillary Clinton for the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Stone apologized Thursday on the stand for posting the photo, which he earlier said wasn’t meant to be a threat to her.
“I am hurtfully sorry for my own stupidity. I am kicking myself, not as much as my wife is kicking me,” he said, calling the post “a momentary lapse of judgement.”
Berman Jackson accused Stone of not being able to “keep his story straight on the stand.”
“Publicity cannot subside if it’s the defendant that’s fanning the flames,” she said.
Berman Jackson issued a gag order for Stone’s case earlier this month, specifically preventing him and lawyers from speaking about the case directly outside the courthouse.
She strengthened that order Thursday, saying he can no longer speak about the case or anyone involved in the case at all. That includes statements issued through radio, blogs, press releases, interviews, social media, spokespersons, family members or other supporters.
“This is not baseball,” Berman Jackson said. “There will not be a third chance.”
Stone pleaded not guilty Jan. 29 to a seven-count indictment for charges of lying to the FBI, obstruction and witness tampering. The Mueller team accused him of lying about his contact with WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Stone previously said he communicated with Assange in order to obtain information on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
The Mueller team also said Stone attempted to intimidate Randy Credico, another witness interviewed in the probe. Federal agents arrested Stone Jan. 25 at his Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home.