Roger Stone, the former adviser to President Donald Trump who was indicted last month on allegations of attempting to collude with Wikileaks in order to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, was ordered to appear in court on Thursday to explain his social media post that seemed to threaten Judge Amy Berman Jackson
"Please inform the Court that the photograph and comment today was improper and should not have been posted. I had no intention of disrespecting the Court and humbly apologize to the Court for the transgression," Stone wrote in a letter to Judge Jackson, according to CNN. The controversial photograph in question had been posted on Stone's Instagram account and showed a picture of Jackson next to cross hairs, emulating the scope of a rifle. Although the cross hairs were not directly over Jackson but rather in the background of the photograph, Stone took down the initial post and replaced it with an alternative, one that removed the cross hairs and included commentary about how Jackson was presiding over a "show trial." That post was later deleted as well.
"A photo of Judge Jackson posted on my Instagram has been misinterpreted. This was a random photo taken from the Internet. Any inference that this was meant to somehow threaten the Judge or disrespect court is categorically false," Stone wrote in an Instagram post after taking down the second photograph.
In a different post, Stone added that "what some say are cross hairs are in fact the logo of the organization that originally posted it something called corruption central. They use the logo in many photos."
Stone is a veteran political operative who has worked for prominent Republicans since the days when he advised President Richard Nixon. He has been repeatedly accused of helping the Trump campaign collude with Russia and WikiLeaks, an ostensible whistleblowing organization that has close ties to Russia, in order to win the 2016 election. Although Stone has adamantly denied any connection to Russia, he did get into a heated argument with Salon in April 2017 when pressed about his theory that Russians may have been behind a hit-and-run incident against him because they'd want to keep him quiet. After Salon asked Stone why Russia wouldn't want him to testify if he had not colluded with them, he dodged the question.
"If I said that, that would be a misnomer. Conjecture," Stone told Salon. "The only reason someone would not want me to testify is because, if I'm allowed to do so, I will put the lie to this Russian myth. Based on what we're learning today, I think you will have confirmation that I was the subject of a FISA warrant back in June . That would mean that the government's been looking at all my emails and texts and monitoring my phone conversations. They might find out a lot of interesting things, but what they won't find is any contacts or coordination with Russians. I've never been to Russia. I've never spoken to anybody in Russia on the phone in the last five years."