Judge Bars Roger Stone From Social Media

“This defendant appears to seek attention.”

Roger Stone arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse with his wife, Nydia Stone, on July 16, 2019.Win McNamee/Getty Images

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

A federal judge banned Roger Stone from using popular social media platforms after finding he had repeatedly violated her order barring him from publicly commenting on the case against him, but she stopped short of exercising her power to jail him by revoking his bond.  

“You may not post on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook in any way, on any subject, at any time,” US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson told the longtime adviser to Donald Trump on Tuesday. Stone also remains barred from making other public comments on the proceedings. Jackson found that Stone had violated her February 21 order barring him from publicly commenting on the case against him. Jackson said that because Stone can’t or won’t follow her orders, “I have to help you out.”

Stone is charged with obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and making false statements in testimony to Congress. He is scheduled to face trial in November. 

Prosecutors cited 11 instances in which Stone has seemed to violate Jackson’s instructions by commenting on the case or attacking people involved with it. These included an Instagram post showing an image of Stone wearing eyeglasses under the words “Who Framed Roger Stone,” a reference to the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. In other instances, Stone faulted news media outlets for their reporting, or lack of reporting, on his case. In May, he attacked a Politico article about him by dubbing its authors “elitist snot-nosed fake news shitheads who’s specialty is distortion by omitting key facts to create a false narrative.”

Stone also admitted that he had sent a text message to a BuzzFeed reporter in late February to contest claims that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen made about him in congressional testimony.

Stone’s attorneys argued that he merely reposted articles on Instagram, and in some cases attacked news outlets for failing to cover aspects of his case. They claimed such posts are not themselves commentary on the legal proceedings.  

Jackson was unpersuaded. “The clarity of my order is undisputed,” she said, noting that Stone has not challenged her order on First Amendment grounds.

This is the second time that Jackson found Stone in violation of her orders since his arrest in January. In February, Stone admitted he had violated an earlier, more permissive restriction on his public comments by posting an image of Jackson’s head with what appeared to be a target next to it. He apologized to Jackson in a hearing at that time, and the judge warned Stone at the time that he would not get a second chance.

But on Tuesday, she said she would not revoke his bond, while noting she could still decide to do so.

The judge appeared aware that jailing Stone could make him a cause célèbre on the right—status he seems to court. “This defendant appears to seek attention,” Jackson said. His posts, she added, appear possibly intended “to prompt me to react in a way that will get him more attention.”

“It seems as if once again I am wrestling with behavior that has more to do with middle school than a court of law,” she said.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate