Judge orders Roger Stone to court over inflammatory Instagram post

Roger Stone deletes photo of judge presiding over his case, says he didn’t mean to threaten her

Special counsel Mueller's team has been dwindling in recent weeks, and lawyers from the USA attorney's office in Washington were assigned to Stone's case from the beginning, which could be an indication that Mueller is planning to hand off the investigation.

The first post was a picture of Judge Amy Berman Jackson with what appeared to be the crosshairs of a gun drawn behind her head.

Stone deleted the photo, but later posted the same one again, this time without the crosshairs, and slammed the trial in a caption.

"I abused the order", Stone told U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson during a hearing to examine whether he violated his bond conditions or should face greater restrictions on discussing the case in public.

He has denied guilt.

The judge issued a gag order on Friday that prohibits lawyers involved in the case from speaking with the news media and prohibits other participants, such as Stone himself, from making statements that may affect the case when they are near the courthouse. Stone has maintained his innocence and blasted the special counsel's investigation as politically motivated.

Stone had taken the witness stand to try to explain his post and apologize to the judge, repeatedly telling her that he had made an egregious and inexcusable mistake.

Stone later posted a statement on Instagram saying the image had been "misinterpreted".

Just days later, Stone posted a photo of Jackson next to the image that looked like crosshairs.

Stone previously used his Instagram account to suggest he'd been framed after he was arrested at his Florida home in a pre-dawn raid. "Stone recognizes the impropriety and had it removed".

Stone pleaded not guilty last month to obstruction of justice, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress after being indicted last week as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe.

Jackson is the same judge who ruled last week that Manafort - Stone's longtime friend and former business partner - lied to Mueller's prosecutors. With respect to Stone and the witnesses in the case, Jackson only prohibited misbehavior on the courthouse steps and in the immediate vicinity-thus taking advantage of judges' power to control their immediate surroundings to assure orderly litigation. Stone has less restrictive bail that now allows him to travel around Washington, DC, New York City and his home in south Florida.

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