Last night, former Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone posted an image on Instagram of the federal judge presiding over his case that displayed a crosshairs logo in the background near her head. Now, that same judge is calling for Stone to explain the posts in court this week.
The original post with the crosshairs near US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s head was deleted soon after Stone published it. After the post was perceived as a direct threat to Jackson by many social media users, Stone deleted it and posted the same image, cropping out the crosshairs. Instagram confirmed to The Verge that it did not remove either image, even though users began reporting the original.
In his latest Instagram post, Roger Stone attacks Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the federal judge overseeing his case.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 18, 2019
There is a crosshair in the upper left corner of the picture. pic.twitter.com/tbjLI0S81c
Soon after Stone was indicted, he went on a media tour, speaking to television news networks like CNN and Fox News over the course of multiple days. Just last week, Jackson imposed a gag order on Stone, prohibiting him from talking to the media about his case.
It’s unclear whether Stone’s Instagram posts violated his gag order, but Thursday’s hearing has been called to determine just that. The court filing calls for the hearing “to show cause ... as to why the media contact ordered entered... should not be modified or revoked in light of the posts on his Instagram account.”
Shortly after Stone removed the images of Jackson entirely, he published two statements on his Instagram account that were created in iMessage, featuring a blue text and a green text. In the first statement, Stone says, “A photo of Judge Jackson posted on my Instagram has been misinterpreted. This was a random photo taken from the Internet. Any inference that this was meant to somehow threaten the Judge or disrespect the court is categorically false.”
His following statement said, “What some say are cross hairs are in fact the logo of the organization that originally posted it something called corruption central. They use the logo in many photos.” Stone and his lawyers also formally apologized to the judge last night in a court filing.
Some critics have suggested that Stone committed a crime by threatening a federal judge, but it’s unlikely a court would determine that the post posed an imminent threat to Jackson. These posts could jeopardize his bail and the lenient gag order he received from Jackson last week. According to ABC News, Stone has confirmed that he will attend Thursday’s hearing.