U.S. Eleventh Circuit - The FindLaw 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Roger Stone Avoids Jail, Gets Tight Gag Order Instead

At one point, a Celtic occult symbol became key to Roger Stone's freedom.

Stone told Judge Amy Berman Jackson that crosshairs, which appeared in his Instagram post behind a photo of the judge, were a Celtic occult symbol. The judge asked him what it meant.

"I don't know your honor, I'm not into the occult," Stone said. Even though he avoided jail, it was a way wrong answer.

No Jail

By most lawyerly accounts, Stone should not have taken the witness stand at the hearing. The judge had ordered him to appear over his Instagram post, but he could have left the talking to his attorneys.

Stone apparently can't keep his mouth shut. At least, that was the issue at the order to show cause hearing about whether he should be sanctioned for violating a gag order in the case.

He was free pending trial on charges he obstructed justice and lied to Congress. Special counsel Robert Mueller charged him about his contacts with Wikileaks, which released damaging emails about Hillary Clinton before the 2016 presidential election.

Before the infamous Instagram post, Jackson had warned Stone to make no public statements that "pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to the case."

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Stone had apologized to the judge over the post, which he took down but social media captured. At the hearing, the judge said she didn't think he was genuine.

Jackson could have sent him to jail, but she refrained. Instead, she barred him from speaking publicly about the case.

"This is not baseball," she said. "There will be no third chance."

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