It looks like Roger Stone will have to stay off Instagram for at least a little bit longer.
An appeals court on Tuesday rejected the request by Stone and his family to loosen the gag order that had been imposed in his case.
After Stone repeatedly ran afoul of her rules about his public remarks, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson banned him from using social media and also prohibited him from using his family and friends as proxy spokespeople.
Stone and his family tried to get around Jackson’s order by filing an unusual request — known as a mandamus petition — with the federal appeals court in D.C.
The three-judge appeals court panel said Tuesday that Stone and his family had other avenues for challenging the gag order.
“Because the Petitioners possess adequate alternative remedies, they fail to satisfy the third prong of mandamus entitlement, and we must dismiss the petition for lack of jurisdiction,” said the court, which was comprised of three Obama-appointees.
Stone’s trial on charges of lying to Congress and witness tampering is scheduled to begin early next month. Stone has pleaded not guilty.
Stone was given several chances to abide by the order originally imposed in his case that barred him from making statements that would prejudice the jury pool.
First, he angered Jackson by posting an image of her on his Instagram with a crosshairs in the corner and an inflammatory caption.
Jackson then ordered Stone not to discuss publicly the case, the court or the investigators, which at that time included special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.
Stone violated her order again, with Instagram posts attacking the FBI, raising conspiracy theories about the Russia probe, and claiming he was framed.
It was then, in mid-July, that Jackson imposed the blanket ban on Stone’s social media use as well as the prohibition on him using his family as “surrogates.” Stone and his family filed their petition to the appeals court two weeks later
The appeals court noted the several opportunities Stone had to directly appeal these various orders.
“Stone had an adequate avenue of relief – direct appeal – but he failed to avail himself of it in a timely fashion, so we lack jurisdiction,” it said.
As for his family “who assert a somewhat different injury than Stone,” the court said, they “fail to establish that no adequate alternative remedy exists.”
“Unlike Stone himself, Stone’s family members are free to use social media and free to speak about the case,” the appeals court said. “The order merely enjoins Stone from vicariously expressing his speech about the case through anyone else.”
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