In January, Trump’s confidant and Republican strategist Roger Stone was indicted on charges of lying, obstruction, and witness tampering. The indictment charged that Stone sought to gather information about hacked Democratic Party emails at the direction of an unidentified senior Trump campaign official and engaged in extensive efforts to keep secret the details of those actions.
On Thursday, MSNBC’s Katy Tur read Stone’s frantic plea, which he delivered at a court appearance for violating a gag order by posting images on Instagram of the presiding judge with crosshairs next to her head.
Tur seemed shocked by Stone’s statement, and before she began reading it, she said:
‘It doesn’t sound like the Stone I’ve known.’
‘I’m hurtfully sorry for my own stupidity. I’m kicking myself, but not as much as my wife is kicking me.
‘My consulting business has dried up. I’ve exhausted my savings. I am being treated for emotional distress. I let myself down, my family down, my attorneys down. It was a momentarily lapse of judgment. I heard political commentators people have been talking about the likelihood that I’ll be raped in prison. It’s been a stressful situation. I’m having a hard time putting food on the table and making rent.’
Tur went on to say:
‘This is not the man I have heard speak about anything for the past, gosh I don’t know, forever. Have you ever heard Roger Stone sound like that?’
Guest Anna Schecter mentioned the fact that Stone had been trying to fundraise for his defense fund with similar images on Instagram. Schecter said:
‘I have never heard Roger Stone sound like that.
‘When I saw that I thought, ‘whoa, maybe he went a little too far now.’
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson made it clear on Thursday that Stone could face jail time for violating the gag order. Jackson said:
‘Publicity cannot subside if it’s the defendant that’s fanning the flames.’
Judge Jackson told Stone:
‘Today, I gave you a second chance. This is not baseball, you don’t get a third chance.’
The judge explained that Stone can still raise funds for his legal defense and maintain his innocence publicly, but he cannot comment on the case or its participants.
Before Jackson ruled, she said that Stone “couldn’t keep his story straight on the stand,” when she allowed him the opportunity to explain his decision to post an image of her on Instagram with what appeared to be crosshairs of a gun near her head.
According to NBC News:
‘The Instagram post in question, posted to Stone’s account earlier this week, was accompanied by a caption in which he suggested Jackson was politically biased, slammed Robert Mueller’s Russia probe and sought donations for his legal defense. Stone later said his post wasn’t meant to be threatening and deleted it.’
Stone’s attorneys argued on Thursday that he was broke and dealing with a large amount of stress, and did not violate the limited gag order or the conditions of his release. They said that Stone would not repeat his mistake.
Stone attorney Bruce Rogow said:
‘Sometimes a person learns a lesson, especially when a person is unrestrained in his speaking. It’s indefensible.’
Judge Jackson said:
‘I agree with you there.’
.@andersoncooper: It's all fun and games until someone threatens the federal judge and almost gets sent to jail for it.
— CNN (@CNN) February 22, 2019
Prosecutor Jonathan Kravis said:
‘I would submit that the defendant’s testimony at this hearing was not credible. That he committed a lapse in judgement is belied by the fact that even after he realized the post was a mistake, he continued to make statements to the media that amplified that message.’
Interesting tidbit from nearly a year ago that forecasts all that is being learned now.
Here’s what Twitter had to say:
Featured image is a screenshot from YouTube