‘I had no intention of disrespecting the court…’
(Chris Sommerfeldt, New York Daily News) Roger Stone apologized to the federal judge overseeing his criminal case Monday after twice blasting her as an “Obama appointed” partisan and posting and deleting a photo of her face next to what appeared to be a crosshairs symbol.
The embattled confidant to President Donald Trump initially put out the picture of Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Instagram but quickly deleted it after the New York Daily News reached out and asked about the apparent rifle scope in the upper left corner of the image.
Minutes later, the self-described “dirty trickster” of politics posted another version of the photo that cropped out the crosshairs but still included a caption ripping Jackson as a shill for special counsel Robert Mueller — even though the federal judge had issued a gag order last week barring Stone from making any public statements that could “pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case.”
Hours later, the 66-year-old longtime GOP operative also deleted that photo and filed a formal “notice of apology” in Jackson’s Washington, D.C., court.
“Please inform the court that the photograph and comment today was improper and should not have been posted,” Stone wrote in the signed mea culpa. “I had no intention of disrespecting the court and humbly apologize to the court for the transgression.”
Stone, who was indicted in Mueller’s Russia investigation last month over his 2016 contacts with WikiLeaks, later told the Daily News he apologized to avoid any ambiguity.
“It was open to misinterpretation and therefore I apologized lest there be any confusion,” Stone said in a text message.
Earlier in the day, the longtime Trump friend and adviser said he hadn’t noticed the crosshairs symbol in the corner of the photo before posting it on his personal Instagram account.
“I saw no such thing,” Stone told the Daily News. “It is simply a photo of the judge off the internet.”
Stone also claimed he had cleared the controversial post with his legal team and insisted it was not violating the gag order issued by Jackson on Friday.
“My criticism is of the manner in which my case was mandated before a specific judge rather than randomly,” Stone said. “There can be no misinterpretation since I didn’t notice the symbol in the corner.”
Within hours, all mention of Jackson was scrubbed from Stone’s Instagram account.
The initial caption to Stone’s post took aim at a couple of Jackson’s previous rulings.
“Through legal trickery, Deep State hitman Robert Mueller has guaranteed that my upcoming show trial is before Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointed Judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges against Hillary Clinton and incarcerated Paul Manafort prior to his conviction for any crime,” Stone captioned the since-deleted post, which also asked for donations to his legal defense fund.
Jackson, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011, has overseen Manafort’s high-profile case and ordered the disgraced one-time Trump campaign chairman behind bars after she ruled he had tried to tamper with witnesses in the special counsel investigation.
Stone is due back in Jackson’s court on March 14.
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