A panel of analysts and reporters on MSNBC had a good time Tuesday mocking political dirty trickster Roger Stone, after the notorious political operative and confidante of President Donald Trump got ordered back into court for posting threatening images on Instagram of the judge overseeing his case.
Host Hallie Jackson got things moving by asking if Stone’s “mess” -a picture he posted of U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson with crosshairs next to her head- would have “serious legal implications.”
“Stone was trying to be cute,” said former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance. “I think he was trying to force the judge into a situation where she would do something that he could use to argue that she needed to be recused and needed to step down from the case.”
But Stone’s efforts would backfire, she predicted, saying the government need only prove a defendant is either a flight risk or a danger to the community, and that the ultimate decision to revoke Stone’s pre-trial release rested with the judge he threatened.
“The question is whether or not Roger Stone is going to go to jail or be put under house arrest,” added the Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff, clarifying what “modifying the condition of his release” actually means. Would Stone be allowed freedom of movement and access to social media, she asked, or “is he going to get the Paul Manafort and Maria Butina treatment and go to jail.”
Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur said that Stone’s stunt was “up his alley” given his reputation for dirty tricks, but Woodruff disagreed. The image was “a stupid thing to post,” she said. “Anyone with two brain cells would see this Instagram post and say ‘don’t do this.'”
Vance chimed in again and said Stone’s “unprecedented” letter of apology was probably too little, too late.
“I think the defense that he’ll use in court is he’ll say ‘I didn’t see the cross hairs, I didn’t intend to threaten you,’ and he’ll have that plausible deniability,” she said. “But it fits in too neatly with the type of tricks that this particular defendant is known for using, and I think it’s very unlikely that this was something that he did casually.” She said that Stone was trying to force Judge Berman Jackson’s recusal, and predicted that it would backfire.
“Federal judges see an awful out of hijinks from defendants,” she said of the “hard-nosed” judge. “They’re used to dismissing them out of hand. I don’t think she’ll have any trouble on Thursday in her courtroom.”
Watch the video below.