Judge scolds Trump ex-adviser Stone and bans social media posts

Roger Stone a longtime confidant of President Donald Trump accompanied by his wife Nydia Stone left arrives at federal court in Washington Tuesday

Roger Stone a longtime confidant of President Donald Trump accompanied by his wife Nydia Stone left arrives at federal court in Washington Tuesday

A federal judge has restricted Roger Stone's use of social media after finding that the longtime friend of President Donald Trump violated her gag order.

Berman said dealing with Stone was like "wrestling with behavior that has more to do with middle school than a court of law".

DC Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she wouldn't toss President Trump's former adviser in jail for violating her order, saying holding a contempt hearing would only generate more media buzz that could sway potential jurors.

Jackson had posted a gag order on him in February after Stone posted a photo of the judge with what appeared to be the crosshairs of a gun.

At Tuesday's hearing, prosecutors cited 11 Instagram posts and a text message to a reporter to argue Stone had violated the gag order. "What am I supposed to do with you?"

Stone is scheduled to go to trial in November after pleading not guilty to federal charges of making false statements to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering as part of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Roger Stone, accompanied by his wife, Nydia Stone, leaves federal court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 16, 2019.

Defense lawyers argued that Stone was only commenting on Schiff and not the case.

Stone, a long-time Republican political strategist and self-described "agent provocateur" and "dirty trickster", is accused by prosecutors of lying to House of Representatives Intelligence Committee investigators looking into Moscow's election meddling, as well as tampering with witnesses.

Stone's attorney, Bruce Rogow, argued that none of the examples put forward by the government violate the court's order that Stone not discuss the case or its participants publicly. The objective of the hearing was to determine whether or not Stone violated her order. "Whether the problem is that you can't follow simple orders or you won't, I need to help you out".

Since then, Stone has made additional Facebook and Instagram posts, including one that asks "Who Framed Roger Stone?".

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Kravis disagreed.

Stone had shared conservative stories about his case on Instagram. "But Mr. Stone has tried to hew to that line". She said his lawyers' arguments ignored "the essence and exponential power of social media", adding they had to "twist the facts" to defend Stone's conduct.

Jackson originally said Stone could talk about his case as long as he didn't say anything in the vicinity of her Washington courtroom. All of the previous restrictions barring him from publicly discussing the case still remain in place.