Judge silences Stone, says no third chance.
Byline: The Washington Post
WASHINGTON -- A federal judge on Thursday ordered that longtime Republican operative and Trump confidant Roger Stone may not speak publicly about the investigation or case against him.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington said it would be "foolhardy" to wait for Stone to transgress again in the wake of an Instagram post that appeared to show her photo near crosshairs. The post suggested both she and special counsel Robert Mueller III, whose office brought the case against Stone, were biased.
"I'm not giving you another chance," Jackson told Stone. "I have serious doubts whether you've learned any lesson at all."
If he violates the order in any way, Jackson warned that she would order him to jail.
The judge, who sounded flabbergasted by Stone's explanations, rejected his claim that the image was not meant to be threatening.
"Roger Stone knows full well the power of words and the power of symbols. There is nothing ambiguous about crosshairs," she said. "If the judge's appearance alone was important to convey some message ... a perfectly neutral photograph can be found on the court's website."
Stone took the stand during the hearing to apologize for the post and ask that he be allowed to keep talking about his upcoming trial. He is accused of trying to cover up his efforts to gather information concerning hacked Democratic Party emails during the 2016 campaign.
"I'm sorry that I abused your trust," Stone told Jackson. "I'm heartfully sorry ... I can only beseech you to give me a second chance."
Stone, 66, said the "lapse of judgment was an outgrowth of the extreme stress of the situation." He said facing criminal charges for the first time in his life has put him under severe emotional and financial strain.
Jackson was not moved. "Thank you, but the apology rings quite hollow," she said.