Roger Stone won a small legal victory last Friday, but it only took him four days to make it go away.
Now, even Stone's friends are waiting for Donald Trump's long-time partner to receive a gag order that prevents him from commenting on his case Thursday at a hearing. Emergency in Washington, which the judge called as a result of sending a threatening message. about her on Instagram.
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There is even a worse case scenario in which US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson jettisons the self-proclaimed trickster GOP.
That's the reality facing Stone, a 67-year-old, despite his attempts to return to social media on Monday afternoon, in which he complained of "The Deep Killer Incident." State, Robert Mueller "and the" Obama-appointed judge "- and presented a picture of Jackson with an apparent reticle in the corner – by suppressing the message and then issuing a formal apology to Jackson.
His post arrived less than 100 hours after Jackson decided limiting Stone's commentary while at the courthouse – widely viewed as a victory for Stone at the time.
"He is exhausted. Roger probably needs to be hit on the wrist, "said Tyler Nixon, a longtime friend and Stone's advisor.
Stone, whose barbed wire comment was linked to fundraising, is "figuring out the contours of what he can say without doing anything and legitimately raising funds for his defense and protesting frankly against this. that he legitimately believes to be a denial of justice in his lawsuits ". Said Nixon.
"It's a delicate line and I hope the judge will allow him to commit the couple's mistakes and take him seriously," he added.
But it is not certain that Jackson will give Stone more chances.
Jackson, nominated by President Barack Obama, has carved out an enviable reputation as part of the Mueller case investigations she oversaw, including charges against the former president of the United States. Trump campaign, Paul Manafort, and Rick Gates, MP for the Manafort campaign. In that case, she slapped Manafort and Gates, along with their lawyers, a few days after Mueller's initial charges were met. She then sent Manafort to jail after the special council accused him of tampering with witnesses – that's where the long-time GOP operator, 69, is still there.
The judge has a lot to say about how to deal with Stone. Jackson can warn her severely or impose the same type of gag order that she made Friday to Mueller and Stone's lawyers – but not to Stone himself – and potential prosecution witnesses. It also has the power to impose new restrictions on Stone, for example by requiring him to wear a GPS monitoring system or limit his movements. Jackson has already set parameters that require court approval to leave South Florida, New York or the Washington area. A fine or a prison is not out of the question.
"The order may be the least of its possible problems if it turns out that when they investigate his conduct, prosecutors might decide that this is an intimidation or an attempt. of threat against the judge, "said Shanlon Wu, a defense lawyer who previously represented Mr. Gates. .
A spokesman for the US Marshals said that the Department for the Protection of Federal Judges was aware of the threat that Stone would have made to Jackson. But he refused to discuss new specific threats or how he protects judges.
Even before posting on Instagram, Stone was posing as a conventional defendant. He spent the next few weeks on national television and interviewed from his southern entrance to Florida. In court, his lawyers filed motions to oppose Jackson's appointment in their case and to charge Mueller with releasing Stone's indictment before he got official court approval.
Stone's legal strategy, say his friends and allies, stems largely from the observation of Manafort's legal strategy.
"Roger watched the others quietly defend themselves and lose," said Michael Caputo, former Trump Campaign Advisor 2016 and longtime friend of Stone, who was interviewed as part of the Mueller investigation. "He made the conscious decision to speak loud and clear of his innocence throughout the process."
Mueller's team indicted Stone late last month for indictment of falsehood, obstruction of justice and falsification of witnesses – crimes that could be worth more than four years in prison if convicted. In anticipation of the trial, counsel for the special counsel had research a gag order on Stone for fear that his comments would affect the fairness of a lawsuit.
Stone's last problem is his. The picture of Jackson posted on Instagram on Monday seemed to feature a crosshair in the corner. Others noted that the image came from a conspiracy theory website with an anti-Jewish perspective.
He then deleted the photo and released a new version without the reticle image. However, by the end of the evening, Stone had also deleted this photo and his lawyers submitted a official apology to the court.
"Please inform the court that the photo and comments today were incorrect and should not have been posted," Stone wrote in the court's Monday night standings. "I had no intention of disrespecting the court and presenting my humble apologies to the court for the transgression."
In an email to POLITICO, Mr Stone announced that he would attend Thursday's hearing "as ordered"
"I have no other comments for the moment," he said.
One of Stone's lawyers, Bruce Rogow, said he would also be present on Thursday, but did not ask about a possible reshuffle of Stone's legal team following Monday's blast. Two other Stone lawyers failed to respond to requests for comment, although it is also forbidden for both to discuss the matter under the order.
During talks on Tuesday, Stone's friends explained in the message posted on Instagram an error that had been widely misinterpreted by the media as an attack on the judge. They say Stone was trying to make it clear that Jackson is a judge appointed by Obama.
"That's what he wanted to make clear. But that can certainly be interpreted differently, "said Annemarie McAvoy, another former Gates defense lawyer. "That's why, as a lawyer, you want the client to speak only through you or with close supervision."
Stone must take into account the fact that each of his actions is closely scrutinized and could be used against him as he mounts his legal defense, Nixon said.
"I will not defend what was presented, my advice is not to do it," he said. "It takes a period of adaptation for Roger."
Wu, a former federal prosecutor, predicted that Stone would eventually recognize the legal danger to which he was exposed by commenting excessively on his own case. "At first, he may have difficulties, but once he's realized the reality, he's going to collapse," Wu said. "I do not think he's going to to be a warrior for the cause of the First Amendment. "
Others doubt that Stone takes into account the advice of his lawyers and stops discussing the case. McAvoy said Jackson's initial decision on Friday perfectly set Stone up for the legal fiasco in which he now finds himself.
"She gave him just enough rope to get into trouble," she said. "I do not know if he can shut up. It's just not in his personality and it's very difficult to force someone to change their personality. "
Jackson announced last Friday that she was going to watch Stone closely, noting that if her initial order allowed her to keep talking about the case, she retained the power to change her order "if necessary". She also warned Stone that any excessive public comments could come back to bite him if he later complained about excessive pre-trial advertising.
McAvoy added that Stone had to keep in mind that he was publicly targeting the judge who would sentence him if he pleaded guilty or if a jury found him guilty of Mueller's charges.
"She will not forget it," McAvoy said. "There is a line of demarcation between an aggressive defense and upset the judge to the extent that you then have the judge return when sentencing."