Roger Stone, a longtime confidant of President Donald Trump, accompanied by his wife Nydia Stone, left, arrives at federal court in Washington, Tuesday, July 16, 2019.

Sait Serkan Gurbuz/AP Photo

Judge mulls whether Trump friend Roger Stone broke gag order

July 16, 2019 - 12:26 pm
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WASHINGTON (AP) — A judge heard arguments Tuesday about whether Roger Stone, a longtime friend of President Donald Trump, violated a gag order in a case that grew out of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.

Prosecutors have argued that Stone's social media posts violate an order banning him from publicly commenting on his case. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson imposed the order in February after Stone posted a photo of the judge with what appeared to be crosshairs of a gun.

Since then, Stone has made additional Facebook and Instagram posts, including one that asks "Who Framed Roger Stone?"

Stone is charged with witness tampering and lying to Congress during Mueller's investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

In court Tuesday, Jackson went through Stone's posts one-by-one with defense lawyer Bruce Rogow to ask if he believed they ran afoul of her order. Rogow said he considered the judge's order broad and didn't think the posts violated the decree, though he acknowledged that Jackson might see things differently.

"From the tone of your questions, I get the sense that you are not happy with Mr. Stone in this case," he said.

He said Stone was using social media to communicate to others what is happening in the case "but not doing it in a way to infect or affect what the whole underlying reason is for the court order" — to ensure an impartial jury and a fair trial.

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