Roger Stone, the political consultant and longtime adviser to President Donald Trump, said he didn’t mean an Instagram post to be a threat against the federal judge presiding over his criminal trial.
Instead, Stone said the now-deleted post was a “random photo” taken off the internet.
The original post showed a photo of U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson with a backdrop that appeared to include the crosshairs of a gun. The photo posted on Stone’s Instagram account included language that accused the judge of being part of an organized scheme against him directed by the “Deep State,” according to several media outlets and social media users who took screenshots. The post pointed out that Jackson was appointed by President Barack Obama.
Stone’s post caught the attention of social media users who said the use of crosshairs was a threat against the very judge currently handling his case.
Stone is accused of obstruction and lying to Congress about his efforts to coordinate with WikiLeaks to aid Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. He’s been at the center of a media whirlwind ever since, protesting his innocence and denouncing prosecutors on social media and television.
Berman recently told Stone she was considering issuing a gag order against him but decided instead to rule last week that lawyers and witnesses can’t make public statements “that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to the case.”
Stone responded Monday afternoon with a new Instagram post that says he did not intend to threaten the judge.
“Any inference that this was meant to somehow threaten the judge Judge or disrespect court is categorically false.”
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Contributing: Bart Jansen, USA TODAY