Roger Stone can’t seem to keep a court-mandated gag in his mouth, and the judge in his case is fed up.
In a blistering order issued on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson blasted Stone for allegedly trying to “generate additional publicity” with a last minute notice about an update to a book he wrote about the Russia investigation.
“He deliberately waited until public sales were not only ‘imminent,’ but apparently, ongoing, to inform the Court of the publication effort that had been underway for weeks,” Jackson wrote in the public scolding.
Stone is being prosecuted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for allegedly lying to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks during the 2016 election. He has pleaded not guilty.
Jackson ordered him not to discuss the case in public. But in a filing last week, Stone’s attorneys warned her that the “imminent release” of an update to his book, The Myth of Russian Collusion, could have an impact on his compliance with the order.
The attorneys tried to argue that Jackson’s gag order didn’t cover the update because it was written before the order was in place.
Jackson didn’t buy that. “It does not matter when the defendant may have first formulated the opinions expressed, or when he first put them into words,” she wrote.
“The fact that the order exists at all is entirely the fault of the defendant,” Jackson reminded Stone, before suggesting that the self-described dirty trickster may have using the filing to drum up interest in the revision to his book.
It’s not the first time Stone has angered Jackson.
When she was first assigned the case, she imposed a limited gag order. But she strengthened that after a social media outburst from Stone.
On Feb. 18, the Republican operative posted a picture on his Instagram account showing Jackson next to what appeared to be a set of rifle crosshairs. After an uproar, Stone deleted the picture and begged Jackson for forgiveness, admitted he had “abused the order for which I'm heartfully sorry.”
Jackson tightened the gag order and told Stone he couldn’t talk about the proceedings, “not this case, not the people in it. Not while you’re under my supervision.”
As a result of the book contretemps, Jackson ordered Stone on Tuesday to produce all records and communications about his contacts with publishers and retailers, when his introduction to the book first became available online, and any statements he made about it on social media.
She did not say what the consequences would be if she determines that Stone is not being truthful and worked on the update after the gag order was in effect.
And she delivered a message designed to remove any wiggle room from the gag order.
“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,” Jackson said.
“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.”