Saturday 23 March 2019

Judge gags president's ex-adviser over sinister online post

‘Dirty trickster’: Republican political operative Roger Stone. Photo: Reuters
‘Dirty trickster’: Republican political operative Roger Stone. Photo: Reuters

Sarah N Lynch and Mark Hosenball

Donald Trump's former political adviser Roger Stone has been threatened with jail if he speaks publicly again about special counsel Robert Mueller's case against him.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson had demanded that self-styled "dirty trickster" Mr Stone explain why he posted a photo of her next to the crosshairs of a gun on his Instagram account.

During a highly unusual hearing in District Court in Washington DC, a visibly angry and frustrated judge told Mr Stone that his apology and explanation for the posting were not credible.

His contradictory statements and foggy recollections led Judge Jackson to complain that he "could not even keep his story straight on the stand".

He swung between claiming one of his volunteer helpers posted the photo and admitting that he did it himself.

Mr Stone (66) is charged with crimes related to the special counsel's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. The long-time Republican political operative and friend of Mr Trump was arrested on January 25.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges of making false statements to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

In court, Mr Stone apologised to the judge for the Instagram post and asked for a second chance.

"Thank you, but the apology rings quite hollow," Judge Jackson said. "What all of this means is that any violation of this order will be a basis for revoking your bond and detaining you pending trial.

"So I want to be clear - today I gave you a second chance. But this is not baseball. There will not be a third chance."

The Instagram post also described the judge as "Obama-appointed" and labelled Mr Mueller a "hitman".

Mr Stone later took the image down but he went on to give an interview on right-wing conspiracy website Infowars defending the post.

Irish Independent

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