Roger Stone – along with his wife, his step-daughter, and two of his wife’s cousins – has formally appealed portions of the various gag orders that have been imposed on him by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson.
The original gag order was issued on February 21, 2019. That order was amended on July 16, 2019 – and July 17, 2019.
As of now, Stone is barred from “post[ing] or communicat[ing] on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook in any way on any subject, including but not limited to forwarding, liking, re-posting, or retweeting anyone else’s statements, articles, posts, or tweets.” and (2) “making statements to the media or in public settings about the Special Counsel’s investigation or any of the participants in the investigation or the case. The prohibition includes but is not limited to, statements made about the case through the following means: radio broadcasts; interviews on television, on the radio, with print reporters, or on internet based media; press releases or press conferences; blogs or letters to the editor; and posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media.”
In addition to the above, Judge Berman Jackson has also banned Stone from “…having statements made publicly on his behalf by surrogates, family members, spokespersons, representatives or volunteers.”
How Stone is supposed to control the actions of others was not specified by the judge.
And just for the record, I am not a surrogate, family member, spokesperson, representative or volunteer for Roger Stone.
I am, however, a United States citizen who does not believe that federal judges should have unfettered power.
Stone Facing Several Charges – Trial to Start in November
Stone is accused of lying to Congress while he was testifying, under oath, before the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on September 26, 2017 (As previously reported, the government managed to turn what it alleges to be false testimony into six different counts in his indictment).
He is also accused of attempting to convince left-wing activist Randy Credico not to testify before the same committee. Credico, however, did appear – and when he did, he asserted his Fifth Amendment rights in response to every question he was asked.
Not surprisingly, Credico was not indicted for anything (Did you hear that, Kathy Russell?).
Stone has not been accused of being involved in the theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee or Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Nor is he accused of having any role in the dissemination of any of the purloined emails.
If convicted on all counts, Stone could be facing as much as 50-years in prison. Given that he is currently 66 years old, such a sentence would amount to a death sentence.
His trial is scheduled to start on November 5th.
Back in March, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office indicated that the prosecution would only need 5-8 days to present its entire case against Stone. And that would include whatever time Stone’s defense attorneys would use to cross-examine the government’s witnesses.
It’s mind-boggling how what Roger Stone is alleged to have done could result in a 50-year sentence after a trial that could last less than 2 weeks (The trial could obviously go longer depending on what, if any, defense Stone’s legal teams puts on).
If ever a prosecution reeked of politics, this one does.
Are we going to start putting everyone who lies to Congress in prison for 50-years?
Better yet, are we going to start putting every member of Congress who lies to the public in prison for 50-years?
Latest Gag Order Goes Way Too Far
Judge Jackson’s gag orders are a great example of a judge over-stepping the bounds of their authority.
With respect to Stone himself, the judge’s orders are clearly a prior restraint on his First Amendment rights.
While the judge might find something that Stone posts on the internet to violate whatever reasonable restraints she may impose on him, barring him from posting anything online simply goes too far.
Why can’t he post his thoughts on the horrible violence that just occurred in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH?
Or his opinion on how the various Democratic candidates performed during the most recent debates?
Or his rating for the pizza that he and his family shared last Sunday?
C’mon, Judge Berman Jackson… There is no basis here for a blanket restraint on Stone’s ability to post things on the internet.
What’s next? Are you going to limit the people that he can talk to? Or what he can eat?
And as bad as the gag orders are with respect to Stone himself, they’re even worse with respect to their application to others.
How exactly is the judge going to determine if Stone asked someone else to post a favorable statement about him on the internet?
Is she just going to intuit whether such a person acted independently or at Stone’s behest?
Is she going to haul such people into court and question them under oath whether they acted independently? And is she does that – and the person asserts their Fifth Amendment rights – will the judge take that as a sign that their posting was made at Stone’s request?
As noted in the petition that was filed last Friday, Stone’s wife, Nydia, has stopped posting online because of her concern that doing so might cause her husband to be incarcerated. Prior to the latest gag orders, she had “posted messages supportive of her husband and critical of his arrest, the case, and the investigation”.
Similarly, Stone’s step-daughter, Adria, has also “curtailed her use of any platform for fear of running afoul of the court’s Orders and having her actions negatively affect the conditions of release for Roger Stone”.
Two of Nydia Stone’s cousins also been disaffected by Judge Berman Jackson’s orders.
Jeane Rouco-Conesa previously posted messages in support of Stone and his endeavors. But the most recent gag orders “have caused her to cease posting her support because she is afraid her actions will cause Stone to be incarcerated”.
And John Brennan has also stopped making supportive postings because he is fearful they “will be attributed to Roger Stone and cause Stone to be incarcerated”.
Judge Berman Jackson Needs to Be Restrained
If anyone needs to be restrained here, it is Judge Berman Jackson.
Allowing her to run roughshod over Stone and his family members and supporters is just wrong.
Not a little wrong…not kind of wrong…but 100% COMPLETELY WRONG.
This is the kind of crap we might expect to see in some country that’s run by a dictatorship.
But not here – not ever.
Hopefully, there won’t be any U.S. Marshals knocking on my door later today because of this post.
But with U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, you just never know…