Roger Stone is one step closer – again – to being in serious trouble with a federal judge that has let him out on bail.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson told Stone on Tuesday that the recent re-release of his book that calls special counsel Robert Mueller “crooked” isn’t in line with her strict gag order on his case.
The order on Tuesday comes as another blow to Stone in the slow march toward his criminal trial. After he was arrested in late January for witness intimidation and lying to Congress, Jackson told him he could not speak in and around the federal courthouse and should be careful what he said publicly. He then posted on Instagram a picture of Jackson with crosshairs behind her, and so she told him less than two weeks ago he could no longer speak publicly about his case, the court or Mueller.
The same week she tightened the gag order, a publisher began selling revised copies of Stone’s book from two years ago, with a new introduction that criticized the Mueller investigation.
Jackson hasn’t yet found that Stone broke the court’s orders, but her assessment of his book re-release on Tuesday condemns his recent actions and makes clear she is taking a long, hard look at whether Stone crossed the line again.
If she finds that he did, he could be fined or lose his bail and be jailed through his trial. He has pleaded not guilty to his seven criminal charges and is currently living at his home in Florida, with some restrictions placed on his travel.
“It does not matter when the defendant may have first formulated the opinions expressed, or when he first put them into words: he may no longer share his views on these particular subjects with the world,” Jackson wrote on Tuesday.
“There is no question that the order prohibited and continues to prohibit the defendant from making any public statements, using any medium, concerning the investigation.”
Before Jackson takes additional action, she wants more information from Stone about the book. He has until next week to tell her how he has “come into compliance” with her orders. She also wants him to submit to the court all records of his interactions he had with his publisher and any public statements he made about the book’s re-release.
Jackson’s five-page discussion of the book release on Tuesday slaps Stone for several missteps he’s made.
She points out that it’s his own fault that the gag order is so strict – because he threatened the court in a social media post following his arrest. Jackson says Stone had no excuse for failing to tell her about the late-February book release when she considered restricting speech in the case. She also points out that Stone testified under oath that he wasn’t being paid to speak about the case – even though the book was published days before, clearly referenced the Mueller investigation and describes how Stone needs help paying his legal bills.
Finally, Jackson accuses Stone of alerting her to the book re-release as a way to get publicity for it.
“Any costs or consequences that will be occasioned by the Court’s reiteration of this clear requirement at this late date are also solely attributable to the defendant,” Jackson says about the gag order and her review.
Stone’s attorneys had alerted her to the existence of the book late last week, after it was already available for purchase. They said it was a “good faith effort” to notify her about it and it had not occurred to the legal defense lawyers to mention it to Jackson earlier as she considered curtailing Stone’s public statements.
In the book’s introduction, which is dated January 2019, Stone writes about how he expects he’ll be charged with a crime.
“I now find myself on Crooked Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s hit list because I’ve advised Donald Trump for the past forty years,” Stone writes in the introduction. “I am being targeted not because I committed a crime, but because the Deep State liberals want to silence me and pressure me to testify against my good friend.”
“Clearly, I was targeted for strictly political reasons,” Stone adds.
The special counsel’s office and the DC US Attorney’s Office who brought the case against Stone have largely stayed on the sidelines about whether Stone broke his gag order.