Roger Stone equated his nearly-finished legal fight with the epic Battle of Thermopylae in his latest Instagram post, a legend that has taken hold in the imaginations and self-styling of the young and right-wing.
The meme, a badly photoshopped image from the movie “300,” features Judge Amy Berman Jackson as the Persian King Xerxes saying: “All we require is that you bear false witness.”
Stone’s head, pasted atop Spartan King Leonidas’ sword-wielding body, retorts: “See, that’s going to be a problem…”
Stone’s flourishes on the post are familiar. He has favored the “bearing false witness” line all throughout his trial proceedings to brandish his loyalty to President Donald Trump, who has retweeted speculation about a pardon for his friend and former adviser.
“I flatly refused to bear false witness against the president who I have known and respected for over 40 years,” Stone wrote. The caption was trailed by a flock of hashtags reading “#rogerstonedidnothingwrong” and “#saverogerstone.”
The publicity-loving Stone has used his Instagram to paint Jackson as his enemy before, once posting a picture of her with crosshairs shortly after she imposed a partial gag order on him.
Stone apologized, but that post led the judge to ban Stone from speaking publicly about the case. She eventually barred him from using his Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts due to his vigorous posting. Many of his posts featured articles from right-wing media sites that included conspiracy theories denigrating the wide spectrum of Stone’s political enemies. Jackson found that the posts were a violation of his gag order.
“Once again I am wrestling with behavior that has more to do with middle school than a court of law,” Jackson said in court then. “The goal has been to draw maximum attention.”
As campy as Stone’s latest meme is, the legend of the Battle of Thermopylae — with the badly outnumbered Spartans making a last, heroic stand against the sprawling forces of the Persian army — is a favorite among gun rights activists, Tea Partiers and white nationalists alike.
The phrase “Molon Labe” or “come and get them,” Leonidas’ supposed defiant response when Xerxes demanded that the Spartans surrender their weapons, has been appropriated by gun enthusiasts who believe their political foes want to take their firearms. It has also become a catchall for Tea Party types who oppose intervention from the federal government.
A video posted on YouTube by user Aryan Wisdom in 2016 — and since viewed over 5 million times — has clips of “300” edited over with audio of President Donald Trump’s speeches, with images of various political figures overlaid onto the characters in the movie. In this rendition, Trump, obviously, is the brave Leonidas. Playing the evil Xerxes is George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist and constant rightwing boogeyman.
The Stone saga, which has spanned years, most recently saw Jackson okaying a delay in Stone’s surrender date until July 14. She had ordered him to stay under home confinement until then.
“This will address the defendant’s stated medical concerns during the current increase of reported cases in Florida, and Broward County in particular, and it will respect and protect the health of other inmates who share defendant’s anxiety over the potential introduction and spread of the virus at this now-unaffected facility,” Jackson said.
She sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison back in February, after a jury convicted him of making false statements, witness tampering and obstructing Congress’ Russia probe.