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Roger Stone ordered by judge to explain social media posts pointed out by prosecutors

Roger Stone was ordered by a federal judge on Friday to respond to claims that he violated a court-imposed gag order by discussing his case on social media.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson told Mr. Stone, President Trump’s longtime confidant, to explain why the court should not find that he violated the gag order and the conditions of his release pending trial by attempting to generate media coverage using Instagram.

Mr. Stone, 66, was given until Thursday to file a written explanation in D.C. federal court. Lawyers representing him in the case did not immediately return messages requesting comment.

A former adviser to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign, Mr. Stone was indicted in January as a result of the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges of obstruction, perjury and witness tampering, and his trial is currently scheduled to start November 5.

Free on bail for the last five months, Mr. Stone has been subjected to a gag order during most of that time prohibiting him from “making statements to the media or in public settings” about the special counsel’s investigation or his case. Federal prosecutors alleged earlier this week that he violated those restrictions by recently discussing his case on Instagram in posts tagging the accounts of several media organizations, “effectively calling on those outlets to cover Stone’s allegations.”

“Stone’s posts appear calculated to generate media coverage of information that is not relevant to this case but that could prejudice potential jurors,” argued Jessie K. Liu, the U.S. Attorney for D.C.

Mr. Stone has been charged in connection with allegedly interfering in the government’s efforts to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election. Prosecutors claim he provided misleading testimony to congressional investigators and then attempted to persuade another witness to do the same through intimidation.

He among 34 people charged as a result of the special counsel’s probe.

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