The defense said, “The ‘prejudice’ to be concerned about is prejudice against Stone; his lonely voice presents no threat to a fair trial under this Court’s supervision,” his defense said, calling the government’s request “oxymoronic, outré, and out of First Amendment bounds.”
Stone’s attorney’s said the government motion “exhibits a willful blindness” to “tens of thousands” of print and broadcast news articles, cartoons, opinion pieces and satirical acts critical of Stone, citing among examples Steve Martin’s parody of the longtime GOP operative on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and “The Washington Post’s unrelenting coverage.”
Stone is out on personal recognizance as he awaits federal trial and has pleaded not guilty to charges of lying to Congress and witness tampering about efforts to gather information about Democratic Party emails hacked and leaked by Russian operatives and others.
The court filing came after U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of Washington ordered Stone to “show cause” why he did not violate his release terms by disobeying an order not to comment “in the media or in public settings about the Special Counsel’s investigation or this case or any of the participants in the investigation or the case.”
Jackson indicated she could set a hearing or weigh further restrictions on his liberty depending on whether she found he was stoking pretrial publicity that could bias potential jurors.
Prosecutors led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Kravis last week objected to recent Stone Instagram posts that included photos of commentators referring to the “Russia Hoax” and claiming Stone’s defense has exposed “the ‘intelligence community’s betrayal of their responsibilities” and revealed “deeply disturbing lessons about the level of corruption at the top levels of the agencies charged with protecting us from external threats.”
Jackson in February imposed a gag order after Stone, a veteran media commentator, posted an image on Instagram that appeared to show the judge’s photo near crosshairs and accused her and “Deep State hit man” Mueller of bias by arranging for her to preside over his “show trial.”
Jackson warned Stone that if he violated the order in any way, she would order him to jail.