How Amy Berman Jackson Got Roger Stone to Step in It and Then Step in It Again

As you no doubt have heard, Amy Berman Jackson imposed a gag on Roger Stone yesterday in response to his posting a picture of her with a cross-hairs on it.

But I’d like to look at how she did so, not just because of the way she crafted it to withstand what may be a legal challenge from Stone’s lawyers, but for how she got Stone on the hook for lies that may get him jailed anyway.

At the beginning of the hearing, she puts Bruce Rogow, Stone’s attorney, on the record about several issues. She gets him to certify that the post in question came from Stone’s Instagram account, as well as the timing of its posting and removal.

THE COURT: And I note that the defendant is present. Who’s going to be handling the argument for the defendant?

MR. ROGOW: I am, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Okay. Well, why don’t you remain there. And you can be seated, Mr. Farkas. Mr. Haley, could you please provide a copy of something that I’ve marked as Exhibit A to Mr. Rogow?

MR. ROGOW: Received, Your Honor. I have a copy.

THE COURT: I would like to know if Exhibit 1 is the Instagram post for which the defendant docketed the notice of apology, found at docket 38, on February 18, 2019?

MR. ROGOW: It is, Your Honor.

THE COURT: So, Roger J. Stone, Jr. is the defendant’s Instagram account?

MR. ROGOW: Yes, sir — yes, ma’am. I’m sorry.

THE COURT: And the post depicted in Exhibit 1 was posted and later removed on that Instagram account on or about February 18?

MR. ROGOW: It was.

THE COURT: Okay. You can return the exhibit to the deputy clerk. And it will be sealed and made a part of the record in this proceeding. I’m not done with you. So what is your position on behalf of the defendant on whether the media contact order in this case should be modified? [my emphasis]

It probably didn’t help matters that Rogow — who has already broken local rules twice in this case — misgenders ABJ. And from the transcript he seemed surprised she was having him — an officer of the court — certify these things from the start.

Rogow tries to deliver his flourish — that he (insanely!!) was going to put Stone on the stand. ABJ lets him, but then proceeds to get him to restate the basis for his objection to a gag. Rogow presents it as a strict prior restraint issue, arguing that as a defendant Stone should have even more right to speak than a member of the press would.

MR. ROGOW: My position is that it should not be modified, that Mr. Stone should have another opportunity to comply. And I want to put Mr. Stone on the witness stand so that he can — you can hear him, Your Honor, and hear him explain what happened, why it happened, and how he apologizes for it, as he did in that filing a couple of days ago. But he would like to have another opportunity to comply with this Court’s original order. And I think that is our position with regard to that.

THE COURT: All right. Well, if you choose to put Mr. Stone on the stand, I’m going to give you that opportunity. I do have a few questions for you first, and then I may save my other questions for Mr. Stone. In docket 28, your submission in response to my solicitation of submissions about the media contact order, you relied heavily on Nebraska Press Association, a case involving prior restraints on the press. Does the — and I don’t know if it’s pronounced Gentile or Gentile or Gentile case — indicate that Nebraska — the Nebraska Press test, the clear and present danger test that you hung your hat on, has to be applied when the restraint is on a participant in a criminal trial?

MR. ROGOW: It does not.

THE COURT: All right. So how does it apply then in this situation?

MR. ROGOW: It applies by analogy. And I think even stronger with regard to a defendant which is on trial for his or her freedom. The Nebraska Press case, of course, deals with restraints upon the press. In a situation with Mr. Stone, we’re talking about a restraint upon the defendant. The Supreme Court has never addressed the restraint upon the defendant in the First Amendment context, as far as I’m aware, which is what I said in my filing to the Court.

That’s when ABJ makes her move. She asks him how this prior restraint issue applies under the Bail Reform Act, which requires a judge to use the least restrictive means to keep a trial and the public safe. Rogow doesn’t understand where she’s going, so concedes that the Bail Reform Act permits her to impose new conditions to keep the community safe.

THE COURT: All right. He’s currently on bond pending trial on an indictment charging multiple felonies, and subject to conditions of pretrial release. How do the principles that you’re talking about operate in connection with the Bail Reform Act?

MR. ROGOW: Well, they operate to the extent that the Bail Reform Act focuses on whether or not there is a risk of flight or a threat to the community, for the most part. And in this situation there is neither a risk of flight nor a threat to the community. The question in this case is whether or not there was a violation of this Court’s order, an order that the Court entered, with warnings. And Mr. Stone will address that. But our position is that the Bail Reform Act is not the issue in this case in terms of revocation of the conditions of his release.

THE COURT: Well, what if I want to modify the conditions of release? What’s the test for what a Court has to find to impose a condition of pretrial release that’s necessary to protect another person or the community? [my emphasis]

Rogow then introduces a standard — clear and present threat — that has no basis in case law, which ABJ calls him on, which he immediately concedes, then tries to reclaim.

MR. ROGOW: Well, if you found that there is a real threat to another person in the community, an actual clear and present threat to that person, then of course you could apply Your Honor’s power to restrain that person, including revocation of the conditions of release, or change of the conditions of release.

THE COURT: Where does the Bail Reform Act require a clear and specific threat to a specific person?

MR. ROGOW: It doesn’t require in those terms, a clear and present threat, Your Honor, but —

THE COURT: Right. You keep using those terms, and now you’ve told me that it hasn’t been applied in this situation to a participant in the trial and it doesn’t apply in the case of the Bail Reform Act. So why do you keep using that test?

MR. ROGOW: Because I think the test is the proper test to use in a situation where a person is about to go on trial, and is a defendant in a case, and has a right to bail, a right to release on conditions that the Court sets. And so it seems to me that at that point, if the Court is going to not allow him or her to be released, that there ought to be very specific facts. I use clear and present because clear and present seems to be a test that gets applied in many situations where important liberty interests are at stake. [my emphasis]

So she asks him again for case law, and he defers by saying he didn’t expect her to raise this issue because it’s not within the basis of his own argument against a gag.

THE COURT: All right. And what is the best legal authority you have for the theory that you’ve just laid out?

MR. ROGOW: Well, I didn’t have any legal authority on that issue because that was not the subject of my response with regard to the gag order. So I really don’t have any authority off the top of my head, Your Honor, to tell you what case or what statute holds with regard to the conditions of release in a situation like this. And I’m focusing on a situation like this, where you have a specific single instance where this occurred.

Having gotten him to admit that — at least as he stood there, not realizing where she was headed — he had no case law to dispute her, ABJ then gets Rogow on the record regarding how much of what he did claim — that Stone was effectively a journalist — really pertained to speech he needed to conduct for his livelihood.

THE COURT: You said the following in your very impassioned submission about the proposed media contact order: You said, “While it is true that most criminal defendants do not wish to be heard, either publicly or in the course of their trial, Mr. Stone is not such a defendant. His work, for more than 40 years, has been talking and writing about matters of public interest. “He’s published half a dozen books, many stating controversial viewpoints. He’s penned many hundreds of articles and has been the subject of many hundreds more, published in myriad publications. Whether it is his pursuit of a posthumous pardon for Marcus Garvey or the style of his clothes or the state of the nation, Roger Stone is a voice. “Given those realities, a prior restraint of Roger Stones’s free speech rights would be an unconstitutional violation of Stone’s right to work, to pursue his livelihood, and be a part of the public discourse.” That raised some questions in my mind, particularly in the wake of the recent events and his explanations for them that may bear on his conditions of release. And so my first question is: How exactly does he pursue his livelihood? [my emphasis]

ABJ gets Rogow to distinguish Stone’s blather from the things he gets paid for — effectively, PR. Rogow then proceeds to certify that his client is an expert of sorts in PR.

MR. ROGOW: He consults with different business and other political persons. That is one of his kinds of work. The other is he comments, obviously, and gets paid for his commentary. He speaks and gets paid for his speaking.

THE COURT: All right. So when he consults, he consults on the subject of communications or public relations? Is that his —

MR. ROGOW: It could be. It could be both.

THE COURT: — field of expertise? All right. Now, he told Pretrial Services Agency he was employed at Drake Ventures, LLC. So what is the nature of the work for which he reported an income of $47,000 a month? Is that the communications consulting?

She establishes a few more details about Stone’s business, then permits Rogow to call Stone to the stand — but not before she warns him that Stone will be sworn (Rogow knows that, but this will be important if and when he gets charged for lying on the stand) , then also warns Rogow she’ll have questions for him again when Stone is done.

THE COURT: All right. So as long as you understand he’s going to be subject to cross-examination. I have a number of questions. If you are saying to me that you would like me to pose them directly to your client, instead of to you, I will do that; he will be sworn.

MR. ROGOW: I am saying that, Your Honor.

THE COURT: All right. You can call Mr. Stone to the stand. I may still have questions for you after, since you entered your appearance in this case.

MR. ROGOW: I understand, Your Honor.

THE COURT: And I expect you to be able to answer my questions. All right. You can call your client to the stand. Understand that the United States will have the right to cross-examine him in the scope of his direct.

MR. ROGOW: I do. I do.

THE COURT: All right.

Remarkably, Rogow seems unprepared when ABJ tells him to go first.

MR. ROGOW: Thank you.

THE COURT: You may proceed.

MR. ROGOW: May I remain? I thought Your Honor was going to ask the questions.

THE COURT: You can start.

What happened next has been the focus of most of the coverage of this. Under Rogow’s direction, Stone tried to appear sorry. ABJ interjects, when Rogow tries to tie Stone’s livelihood to his speech, to challenge that.

Q. How could we be assured, Mr. Stone, if the Judge remains with the order that she had entered allowing you to speak freely, how can we be assured that there will not be a recurrence of something like this, or anything like this?

A. First of all, I’m very grateful to Your Honor for the initial order, because I do have to make a living. And I am sorry that I abused your trust. I —

THE COURT: Is anybody paying you to speak about this case?


THE COURT: Okay. So an order that you couldn’t speak about this case wouldn’t affect your ability to make a living?

THE DEFENDANT: That is correct.

When Rogow finishes, ABJ then gets Stone on the record about several issues: who owns the Instagram account, what he claimed the crosshairs to be. Then she notes that Stone’s public comments about what he had done differed from what his lawyers had gotten him to sign in the apology they submitted to her. She gets Stone on the record trying to square what he had said publicly with what he and his lawyers had represented to her.

THE COURT: Well, according to the apology, the post was improper. What was improper about it?

THE DEFENDANT: My attorneys wrote that and I signed it because it was improper for me to criticize at all; I recognize that.

THE COURT: Well, at the time I imposed the order there were no restrictions on your talking about the case. So, my questions to you are not about the fact that you criticized the office of special counsel, that you criticized me, that you criticized an opinion in the case that I had written earlier. My question to you is what is it that you said was improper when you told me it was improper.

THE DEFENDANT: Again, I did not write that, I signed it on the advice of counsel. I would have —

THE COURT: Well, wait.


THE COURT: You said to me, “I abused your trust.”

It goes on for a bit, leading up to ABJ getting epic rat-fucker Roger Stone to agree, under oath, that his post could have a malicious impact, regardless of what he himself claimed to intend by it.

THE COURT: Why is it consistent with how sorry you were, when you sent the apology, to continue for the next two days to speak publicly about the fact that you’re being treated unfairly in this situation as well, that it’s really this symbol, that it’s really that symbol, it’s the media going after you. How is that consistent with your telling me that you’re deeply and sincerely sorry?

THE DEFENDANT: Because that was a reference to what I believe was a media distortion of my intent. It was — I did not have a malicious intent, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Do you understand that what you did could have a malicious impact, notwithstanding your intent?

THE DEFENDANT: That’s why I abjectly apologized and I have no rationalization or excuse. I’m not seeking to justify it.

DC prosecutor Jonathan Kravis then gets Stone on the record about a bunch of things I’m sure the FBI is busy at work to prove to be false claims, such as who found the photo of ABJ with the crosshairs, which device was used to post it, which Proud Boy “volunteer” he worked with to make a threat against a judge. This is important, not just because the FBI is likely to find several issues about which Stone lied under oath yesterday (which if they can prove will provide immediate reason to deny Stone bail), but also because much of the eventual case (and much of what Mueller’s team spent a year getting all of Stone’s retinue on the record about) will be about proving what Stone personally tweeted or otherwise communicated, and what someone else did.

ABJ interjects a few times, including to call him on an attempt to use the passive voice to avoid saying something that the FBI will be able to prove is a lie.

THE COURT: When you say, “My phone is used,” who’s the subject of that sentence? The passive voice is not helpful. Who uses your phone to post?

THE DEFENDANT: All of the people who work for me.

She also gets Stone to contradict earlier testimony about who picked the photo. She gets Stone on the record affirming that he stated to InfoWars that the media was making him a target. She calls Stone on a bullshit claim about five people being too many to know who had access to his phone.

Stone really wasn’t prepared to be grilled by ABJ.

Just to be fair to Bruce Rogow, note that when ABJ asks Kravis for what the government wants, he doesn’t realize what she has just done, either. He still believed, at this point, that this was a question about the jury pool.

That conduct amounts to what the Court in United States versus Brown referred to as, quote, a desire to manipulate media coverage to gain favorable attention, unquote, thereby threatening to taint the jury pool. The defendant, even after the Instagram post was taken down, continued to give interviews where he reiterated the statements that appeared in the text of the message. He gave varying accounts of who was responsible for the post, what the symbol meant, where it came from, so on and so forth. And every time the defendant gave another one of those interviews, he continued to amplify the media coverage and increase the risk — increase the risk to the jury pool.

After Kravis argues jury pool jury pool jury pool, ABJ finally guides him to where she’s headed: the the safety of the community. Kravis doesn’t get the hint, and returns to the jury pool, before — lightbulb! — he notes that Stone’s comments might be deemed threatening and therefore appropriate for restrictions under the Bail Reform Act.

THE COURT: All right. Looking at the Bail Reform Act, however, under 18 U.S.C. Section 3142(g), when I’m considering imposing conditions on someone’s release, I’m supposed to consider the available information concerning the nature and circumstances of the charged offenses, the weight of the evidence against the defendant, the history and characteristics of the defendant, and the nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or to the community that would be posed by the defendant’s release, or release without certain conditions. Is there anything you would like to bring to my attention in that regard, assuming that I would be considering making any restrictions on speech a condition of his release?

MR. KRAVIS: Your Honor, the facts that I would bring to the Court’s attention are the facts and circumstances surrounding the content of the post, in that whatever the defendant’s testimony about his subjective intentions may have been, the result of his conduct was the wide dissemination of an image that could be construed, could reasonably be construed by people as a threatening image, and that introduces a new threat of — a new threat of taint to the — taint to the jury pool.

And because the conduct we’re talking about now, because the message we’re talking about now are not just messages about proclaiming innocence or articulating a defense, but are messages that could be construed as threatening, the government believes that the restriction on extrajudicial statements would be appropriate under the Bail Reform Act.

ABJ gets Rogow on the record once more to walk him through how Stone’s actions prove his own claims from last week about publicity to be false.

That’s when ABJ takes a break, then comes back and imposes a gag not just to ensure her ability to seat a jury, but to preserve the safety of the community. She presents Stone’s speech, rightly, as an incitement (and neatly blames the wingnuts he hangs out with for any potential violence).

Under Section 3142(g), in determining whether there are conditions that will reasonably assure the safety of other persons or the community, I’m supposed to take into account a number of things, including the nature and circumstances of the charged offenses, the weight of the evidence against the defendant, the history and characteristics of the defendant, and the nature and seriousness of the danger to any person, or to the community, that would be posed by the defendant’s release. In connection with that assessment, you can’t overlook the fact that this indictment does not charge the defendant with financial or regulatory irregularities in connection with some business deal a long time ago. It’s not even limited to the allegations that he lied to the United States Congress. It specifically charges him with threatening witnesses, within the past year. Now, it’s true those allegations have yet to be proven. But for purposes of Section 3142, the evidence detailed in the indictment alone is quite compelling. And the evidence of the past few days indicates that this defendant has not been chastened by the pendency of those charges, and that in connection with this matter, he has decided to pursue a strategy of attacking others.


What concerns me is the fact that he chose to use his public platform, and chose to express himself in a manner that can incite others who may feel less constrained. The approach he chose posed a very real risk that others with extreme views and violent inclinations would be inflamed.

Importantly, ABJ uses Stone’s own testimony to emphasize that he chose to use a threatening image, and he’s an expert so he surely didn’t do it by accident.

The defendant himself told me he had more than one to choose from. And so what he chose, particularly when paired with the sorts of incendiary comments included in the text, the comments that not only can lead to disrespect for the judiciary, but threats on the judiciary, the post had a more sinister message. As a man who, according to his own account, has made communication his forté, his raison d’être, his life’s work, Roger Stone fully understands the power of words and the power of symbols. And there’s nothing ambiguous about crosshairs.

So here’s what she did.

First, in spite of the fact that both the prosecution and the defense were treating this as primarily a jury pool issue (which ABJ did return to and establish in the record), she instead — from the start — laid the ground work to impose a gag because Stone’s public comments pose a threat to the community, giving her the authority to impose the gag under the Bail Reform Act. She makes clear that whether or not he intends violence, those around him might.

In the process, she did a number of things:

  • Impose a gag that a Twitter account bearing Stone’s name may have violated within an hour
  • Get Rogow and Stone on the record explaining why the terms of her gag won’t impact Stone’s ability to make a living, undercutting a significant part of the First Amendment claim they’ve been making
  • Provide a basis for the gag that Rogow did not anticipate, which may be far harder — and politically more difficult — to challenge
  • Provide an opportunity for both the prosecution and herself to catch Stone in multiple sworn lies (which, again, I’m sure the FBI is busy at work proving now), which if charged as perjury would lead to Stone’s immediate jailing

Here’s why, I think, this was allowed to happen. For Stone’s entire life, the press has coddled Stone, treating him as a nifty character whose toxic speech doesn’t damage society. ABJ was having none of that, and used both Rogow’s position as an officer of the court and Stone’s insane willingness to take the stand to get them to acknowledge that his speech is toxic, that it does pose a threat to society. Stone presumably wasn’t prepared for that because no one has called him on his toxic speech before.

If Stone’s lucky, the now much harder to challenge gag will be the only detrimental outcome from yesterday’s hearing and he’ll avoid perjury charges.

As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

153 replies
  1. Badger Robert says:

    The odds are that Mr. Stone will violate the order, and then it will be a contempt issue.
    The CG officer’s arsenal being in the news did not help Stone. Karma is hard mistress.

    • roberts robot double says:

      Karma is hard mistress.

      Only as hard as the perosn’s heart she is dealing with. When a person’s heart is soft for the love of all they encounter and adamant about the truth, karma is kind and merciful.

      We *ALL* reap what we sow. That is why to become consumed by love for God and *ALL* our neighbors is the Greatest Command. That all-consuming Divine fire of love burns away all our selfish tendencies and thus the sins of our past become the Wisdom we present to others in humble, yet firm, self-effacement. And there ain’t no faking it, for the truth lives in every person’s facial expressions, tone of voice and eye shine, but only those who have begun the inward journey on the Path of Love can recognize the truth of others’ inertia.

      Peace be with you all, my dear friends.

      • Dr Hell No says:


        So looking at the over 50 countries in the entire continent of Africa, poverty “karmically” besets people with famine, illness, war, strife, etc. whereas in other continents of colonial power countries, those of master races karmically prosper?

        If Karma existed on a macro level, Karma would be a racist with a convenient colonial hangover and amnesia of misdeeds…who even in India demands *shadi by family* and demands outcasts to remain in the gutter?

        Karma like dharma is grossly mistranslated. TRUST ME I’M ANCIENT.

        Dharma is not suffering per se, but more like cognitive dissonance and Karma is much more micro than macro and requires divination and craft of the individual in space-time.

        Spycraft v. witchcraft
        New physics v. Classical physics

        Go ahead and drone on about your “multi-domain” BULLSHIT.

        I’m multi-dimensional, bitch.

        Roger sucking up to fascists who hate Jews bc nationalism is a baseline a la Putin. One day you’re in, the next day you’re out, but who can school a fool w/ a Nixon tattoo who’s benefited for decades from unscrupulous Republicans who’ve put party before country.

        Gore. 500 votes. Reports of military personnel loading mystery ballot boxes in FL. I REMEMBER.

        So here we are post-hanging-chad election SCAM to Russia in the WH w/ these sell-outs who go off on their own WHITE recognizance yet a black actor pays 100k in bail and is summarily charged w/ a felony.

        Karma? Hardly. It’s racism, classism, and even sexism. If the judge were a man, Roger would be held w/o bail. Berman is being extra calculated and cautious bc of her gender. It’s taxed. We all know it. She suffers more. If it were a man, Roger would be locked up. Simple.

        What about Kushner? Trump?

        What about our government drugging and torturing people in the name of CIA experimentation?

        See Karma is something you do w/ physics and craft as an individual. Karma is something YOU do.

        Karma is YOU.

        So don’t fuck with Karma when it’s ME.

        Because I am so MUCH more than YOU.

        Dharma awaits you.

        This message is meant for a certain audience.

          • Rayne says:

            You must be new to the internet. LOL

            Doesn’t matter if I put up open threads to catch the “bat-shit insane,” there will be drift.

            Welcome to emptywheel.

            • Arj says:

              Am I dreaming, or have I just been reading the label from Dr. Bronner’s magic soap – or drinking the same…? Am sensing some heat in this thread too.

              • Rayne says:

                I don’t know about you but it might be the celebratory Fireball whiskey I’m drinking right now since it’s a Friday afternoon and I survived the week. (It’s not really worthy of the title “whiskey” but it’s here and it contains alcohol and a little heat. Meh.)

                • Arj says:

                  When in NYC I invariably raise un ballon de rouge to my friends and say: ‘Well, we survived another one.’ It’s getting more literally true every time.

  2. Prairie Boy says:

    How to rat fuck a ratfucker? Do you think we can start calling her the “Almost as Notorious ABJ”. Great post EW. Thanks

  3. klynn says:

    Followung Zoe T yesterday in real time was a blast. I was laughing the whole time as Judge ABJ set-up the path to the gag order. You captured the step-in-it and step-in-it-again moments perfectly. Thank you! Such a great read.

  4. cue says:

    Not that I find Roger Stone funny or entertaining in any way but as I was reading this post I kept thinking “Is it wrong that I’m smiling?”

  5. der says:

    “Stone really wasn’t prepared to be grilled by ABJ.”

    I don’t get our “elites” and keep asking myself “can they really be that stupid.” Surprised Stone didn’t have Lindsey Graham represent him and put on the outraged crying Kavanaugh defense.

    • Pat says:

      Because the crying Kavanaugh defense is completely inappropriate in a court of law.  That was why thousands of lawyers signed a petition to have his nomination pulled after he did it.

    • Dakota says:

      This was my favorite reply. Lindsey the two-faced whiner deserved to be named! And take the beer drinking liar/weeper with him.

  6. harpie says:

    So, neither lawyer initially realized that the main problem with the Instagram post was that it constituted a “message[s] that could be construed as threatening” to the community?

  7. Eslinger says:

    Roger Stone has been click-bait for commercial media long before that term existed. He has been a useful provocateur in the struggle to attract readers/viewers and generate revenue.

    Now he has face-planted in an arena where clicks and advertising revenue don’t factor in (not accounting for use of the arena for political purposes), but he’s likely to continue to wiggle in familiar ways that may endanger his ability to peddle his mendacious drivel.

    Reading the full transcript was a good way to start today. Thanks for providing the analysis and the link!

  8. Alan says:

    Unfortunately, the minute order entered on the docket does not appear to prohibit Stone from sending out mass emails.

  9. Anvil Leucippus says:

    Give them all the rope they need to hang themselves.

    I already liked ABJ, but after EW’s excellent take on yesterday’s news, I have even more respect for both of you!

  10. VR says:

    Its amazing to see how she took him apart. To gut a ratfucker by having him stick in the knife takes great skill. Also a good indicator of how Trump and his spawn would do under specific intense questioning by professionals

  11. Curveball says:

    Federal judges litigating from the bench — more common among newly appointed ones — can be a problem for the lawyers. The judge is, in effect, taking the case away from them. And often showing off. But then there’s this instance, and after many years as a reporter sometimes covering cases in federal courts, one court regularly for several of them, I’ve never seen anything like it. Judge Berman quite properly and deftly interjected herself as an interested party. Rogow’s clock glistens from being so freshly and thoroughly cleaned. Great job, Marcy.

  12. bri2k says:

    One thing that bothers me is I can’t help thinking that if some average person had done this they’d have had bail revoked and sent to the slammer. Can any legal eagles tell me if this is correct?

  13. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Thank you Marcy, your analysis should prove to Stone and his lawyers Grampa Ole’s warning: If you fuck with the bull you will get the horns.

  14. gedouttahear says:

    Legal artistry by the judge, reporting artistry by EW.
    I particularly like that ABJ showed sufficient judicial restraint as not to open herself for criticism for jailing the mo-fo right away, as I think could she have properly done.
    But he’s in the double-shitter now and some things are worth waiting for, like a longer eventual incarceration for the rat-fucker. And could be, a-la-manafort, the r-f’s time may come sooner than we know.

  15. Leo Walter says:

    Thank you so much for the amazingly clear explanation of Judge Berman’s deft handling of a truly despicable human being. And I have to give some credit to those commenting before me. I was smiling the entire read while recognizing the the real danger people such as Stone (  and his ilk ) pose to all of us.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    CNN will now hire Roger as its deputy editor of political campaign coverage, to balance out the centrist position it asserts Isgur occupies. Keeping Trump in the WH is probably key to its financial forecasts for the next several years.  Of course, that works whether the Don is in the White House or being tried for multiple felonies in a cascade of venues.  Here’s hoping Trump adds  Rogow to the list of his defense counsel, and that he puts him on the stand time and again.

    BTW, lovely analysis of a judicial argument.  Should become a standard part of the trial practice curriculum.

  17. DaBrownOne says:

    Random out there prediction: part of the Mueller “report” will explain why he is about to issue a subpoena to interview Trump.

  18. @pwrchip says:

    I agree with others w/ ‘WOW.’

    IANAL, but do love the preciseness of the dialogue in court rooms when expressed by the bright minds that are attorneys & judges (can’t say all, b/c I have heard some that are simply lost).

    Amy, you always help educate me & inform the public with your thoroughness in your reporting, that makes it abundantly clear even for me to understand the courts processes. Well done!

    Now, I hope the process works on Trump as his case unfolds and the public is exposed to Mueller’s discovery of facts & evidence about all Trump & family’s criminal behavior. Especially when someone puts a full gag order on the president.

  19. viget says:

    Excellent job, Marcy. One of your best yet.

    After reading this masterful post, Marcy, I now take back what bmaz called “my trepidation” from yesterday. Was worried that Stone was the one setting the trap (to get recusal based on ABJ’s perceived personal bias against him given the implied threat), now it’s clear that it was actually ABJ setting the trap. However, it doesn’t look good that Kravis didn’t get where this was going.

    I also agree with gedouttahear’s comment, by showing judicial restraint, she’s actually strengthened her position. Stone’s ending up in jail one way or another: either by his inability to not violate the gag or by the FBI catching him committing perjury. Now, she’s made it impossible for anyone to criticize such a move (especially Stone!).

    How long does Stone stay in jail before he decides it’s time to talk…. I wonder.

    • chicago_bunny says:

      Lawyer here.  Many years ago when I was a summer clerk, the other clerks and I were talking with the judge in chambers about a particularly poor performance we had just witnessed by a lawyer in the courtroom.  We clerks were piling on about how the lawyer had been flummoxed by a witness’ response, then grown increasingly shaky while trying to get things back on course.  And I will never forget the judge’s response: “What that lawyer is trying to do is not easy.”  The judge then explained some of the things the lawyer was trying to balance, while also telling us what the lawyer could have done in advance to be ready for the moment.

      Anyway, I offer that just to say the prosecutor probably came in expecting the argument to go a certain way.  (Indeed, Marcy’s observation that people have let Stone get away with his odious antics for years may have influenced the prosecutor to look past what he had done in this instance and not recognize it for the obvious threat of violence that it was.)   I know from personal experience that it can be hard to adjust on the fly.  Perhaps it was harder to read the judge in the courtroom than it seems from the transcript, and perhaps the prosecutor was not sure how much leeway he had to change the government’s request in the moment.  He did get there though.

  20. Martha says:

    Thank you! Reading this really helped to reaffirm my faith in justice. One of the (many) insidious effects of this administration over the years has been their constant attempts to demean the legal system–not only by belittling it, but also by inviting compromised people to the bench. I know the system isn’t perfect, but this post gave me some much-needed optimism.

  21. Pete says:

    This is perhaps WAY off topic, but I thought better here than in Rayne’s Open Thread. None the less I am prepared for retribution.

    I am near agnostic with respect to Rachel Maddow, but I did think her show last night – a special report – was very interesting wrt to establishing the DOJ policy of not indicting a sitting president. Kind of a side effect of going after Agnew. I did not realize Agnew was THAT dirty. He would fit in perfectly in the Trump world today – 20:00 of your time well spent IMHO:

    • Pete says:

      This extension to the above segment more relevant to indicting a sitting president:

    • Rayne says:

      Came away from last night’s program hoping DOJ would reconsider their policy. I don’t know what other tools we have to stop the lawless behavior when GOP-led Senate is sure to obstruct any attempt to remove him should the House impeach.

      • ThomasPaine says:

        The majestic Walter Dillinger agreed with you that the OLC opinion was on very thin ice and needed to be revisited. The question is how. It would be very hard for the OSC, anyone in Main Justice or a sitting US Attorney to buck the OLC and file an indictment on the POTUS against DoJ policy. I am wondering, however, if someone like Robert Khuzami who is leading the SDNY’s investigations into the entire Trump Enterprise could do it, and set off the required review process to determine if it is legal. It does NOT appear in the Constitution, unlike protections for legislators. It would be most interesting to see if the “strict constructions” could fashion the prohibition out of whole cloth in defense of Trump. It would certainly expose their feet of clay, if nothing else.

        • BobCon says:

          It’s worth noting that from an originalist point of view, freedom from indictment is bunk. I may well be repeating myself here, but the founders were not sympathetic to king-like power above the law.

          Furthermore, the no-indictment position holds that impeachment is the proper response to law breaking, which is idiotic from an originalist point of view. In the 18th Century, it would take months for Congress to assemble after recess. It would be absurd to think that a president getting caught taking bribes from a foreign power would be free while waiting for Congress to gather its members from rural New Hampshire and remote parts of Georgia.

          Of course, none of the originalists on the Supreme Court are really originalists, so they’ll find easy ways to ignore history and assert a presidential power with no such history to back it up.

  22. @pwrchip says:

    @pwrchip says:
    February 22, 2019 at 11:38 am
    Marcy forgive my error, I said ‘Amy’ when I meant to say Marcy.

  23. Ken Muldrew says:

    The legal types here are probably fans of the Australian movie, The Castle. Rogow’s application by analogy had me thinking he was going to sum up as, “It’s just the vibe of the thing”.

  24. TimH says:

    It is always amazing to see people who are so used to getting away with it… getting treated as the arrogant entitled buffoons they are.

  25. Winslow2 says:

    I enjoyed every word of this post. Combined with the spectacular implosion of The Reverend Mark Harris and his absentee ballot fraud case in NC, it’s been a lovely week.

  26. Rayne says:

    Is it just me or did ABJ walk Stone and his legal team right up next to a point where Stone’s career to date could have been defined as “including incitement or consultant on incitement on behalf of paying clients”?

    Doesn’t help when he says he’s been in “political combat” and he’s got Proud Boys’ support.

  27. Jonathan Knowles says:

    I find the fact that Stone stated that he thought the crosshair was a Celtic Cross equally inflammatory and revolting given the obvious association it has with Neo-Nazis and the fact that Berman Jackson is of Jewish descent.

  28. Kokuanani says:

    Thanks, Marcy. This is great.

    However, seeing a skilled, intelligent judge like ABJ do her work makes me shake as I contemplate the raft of worthless grifters Trump and McConnell are pushing onto the bench. We are lucky to have this high point, but I fear we are in for years in the gutter of incompetence.

    • Richard G says:

      @ Jonathan Knowles

      Wow, I didn’t know that about the short-form Celtic Cross being a favorite white nationalist symbol.

      So there *is* something “ambiguous about crosshairs,” and it’s revolting either way.

  29. Jeffrey L says:

    Jurisprudencial tour de force indeed.
    Putting on my rat-f*cker’s bowler hat for a minute though, it seems like she left open the option for Stone to speak publically in his capacity as a public relations professional, so all he would need is a (straw) client to “hire” him to attack the judge and the proceedings on some pretense of it being in the interest of the client. That would pit the Bail Reform Act speech restrictions, based on threat to the community, against his right to speak publically in a professional capacity (the Nebraska Press test).
    Pitted against each other directly as such, how would the court decide which takes precedence?

    • bmaz says:

      Eh, maybe, but don’t think so. I think people are WAY overthinking the viability of a gag on Stone. He is the named defendant, and therefore a direct party, not outside press as in the Nebraska Press case. Not every case is appropriate for a gag, but they are not completely unusual at all.

      I will also say that many people seem to be focusing on the BRA too much.It is a means to an end. The reason judges put a gag into the terms and conditions for release is quite simple – it makes it one hell of a lot easier to address any violation.

  30. orionATL says:

    thank god judge berman got tough with ol’ rog right off the bat. she really worked the lying, soft-centered son-of-a-bitch into checkmate – and the horses’s ass of a lawyer he rode in on, too. failing to grab these bastards by the scruff of the neck as soon as they snap at you is just how stone and trump (and cohen for trump) get away with their history of making serious political, legal, and business threats over and again.

    you’re a mighty smart, tough questioner of a judge, ma’am.
    you’re a mighty smart, tough analytical reporter, ma’am.

    • Eureka says:

      I enjoyed this comment, orion- especially the momentum here: “she really worked the lying, soft-centered son-of-a-bitch into checkmate…” ;)

  31. IANAL on UWS says:

    Exceptional post, many thanks Marcy!

    Q: Let’s say Stone appears to violate this gag order and ABJ calls another hearing. Does Stone’s swearing in during this appearance mean he cannot avoid being sworn in during subsequent hearings? Or can his attorneys refuse to put him on the stand, even if ABJ wants to question Stone?

  32. Kick the darkness says:

    I don’t know which I like better, ABJ’s fenestration of Stone or you choosing the adjective nifty to describe him. Seeing as how its Friday, I’ll take both.

    • arbusto says:

      I’m pretty sure AJB didn’t do it on the fly. Loved how she walked a tight rope in depriving Stone his martyrdom and kept the case on track. Wonder who her Rabbi (secular) is.

  33. P J Evans says:

    @Jonathan Knowles February 22, 2019 at 11:58 am
    I’m surprised so few reporters have noticed that actual Celtic crosses have the cross more prominent than the circle (which represents eternity, or so I’ve been told).

  34. milton wiltmellow says:

    Adding my voice to the choir.

    Absolutely brilliant work!

    The detail, the drama, the flow of ideas makes this unremarkable hearing into a compelling narrative. For years I’ve wanted to see Roger Stone’s lying, rat-fucking, adolescent smart-aleck persona skewered like a roasting pig on a spit. ABJ does it. And MW describes it brilliantly.

    Thank you!

  35. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Even people like Josh Marshall have said things along the lines of “Roger is terrible, but he’s entertaining in person.” I’m sure that’s in very relative terms, but it’s done with a sense that they won’t be directly affected by his ratfucking.

    I can’t believe that Stone’s Florida lawyers didn’t pay attention to a) the process that ABJ followed to revoke Manafort’s bond; b) her recent dealings with more of Manafort’s bullshit in recent weeks. Well, I suppose I can. Read the damn room.

    • Rayne says:

      Josh’s attitude enables Stone’s behavior by normalizing it with a wink-nod. “Ha-ha, that Roger, so funny.”

      Except that Roger has always been as dangerous to certain groups of people as he was this week — his past works just haven’t been treated to as much sunlight.

    • Michael Heit says:

      responses like
      josh marshal’s are the main reason the msm has the crappy reputation it has.
      Treating crap like Stone as
      anything other then the threat
      he is truly is journalistic mal practice.
      Trouble is most if not
      all of the msm engage in sycophantic sophomoric normalizing of rogue people.
      The press thinks threatening people like Roger
      are just the kewl kids who gave them wedgies in middle school and secretly had crushes on them and still do

  36. SteveB says:
    Jeffery L
    I imagine that there are a number of practical obstacles to stunts of this sort.

    I would surmise that in order to obtain paid employment of the sort described Stone would first have to seek and obtain a variation of the gag order and to satisfy the court as to the bona fides of any proposal and that the concerns which gave rise to the order can be adequately addressed. Given that Stone has been discredited on oath as to the facts and circumstances of an instagram post, just gettng to first base on an application to vary the order seems unlikely

  37. orionATL says:

    orion 2/22@12:22p

    these perverse, rightwing, searching-for-their-masculinity groups like the proud boys have become expert at hiding their degrading speech aimed at what they feel are legitimate targets, e.g., blacks, jews, ‘anti-fascists’, through word-games, what they call ‘parody’, ‘political speech’, and ‘journalism’. a “legitimate target” in this context refers to a member of a group that is deemed socially inferior, that is, a scapegoat authorized by society or by its leadership, e.g., orban or duterte or trump.

    don’t believe for a minute that torres wasn’t marked and allowed in by the secret service. with his record he wouldn’t have been allowed with a 100 yds of the building without some white house authorization.

  38. Jeffrey L says:

    ABJ’s jurist’s virtuosity aside, the question remains: why would Stone do something so obviously self-destructive to his legal defense, and his pre-trial freedom?
    Everyone is saying he’s stepped in it, but it would seem this was a deliberate step.
    He appears to be deliberately trying to get himself in a jail cell as quickly as possible, at the same time decrying his unfair treatment by law enforcement and the court.
    I think he’s trying to establish a predicate of being a political target/victim in the eyes of the far right (Trump’s base) to provide just enough political cover for Trump to get away with pardoning him.
    He’s trying bypass the legal case altogether and win via political means.  It fits his M.O. and it explains his otherwise irrational behavior.

    • BobCon says:

      I think we’ll find out before long just how sloppy Stone can be once we start getting hints about what was seized in the raid on his house and what the feds have interecepted from his calls and messages.

      I suspect he’s very hit and miss when it comes to protecting himself, sometimes being canny in setting up plausible deniability, and sometimes completely shooting himself in the foot.

      • SelfAbsorbed says:

        In his post-arrest-interview-extravaganza, I think it was on CNN but I’m not sure, he said ‘I’ve never deleted an email’ or ‘I have kept all of my emails’. All I remember is in response to Stone saying he has all of the emails he has ever written or received, I said to the TV “You are so mother fucking fucked you fucking halfwit, how are you so incredibly fucking dumb and bad at this?” Because my boyfriend yelled back at me from the next room “I’m sorry?” And I almost died of laughter.

        • Rayne says:

          LMAO how many of us have been screaming at electronic devices over the last two years, to the chagrin of our friends and loved ones? I need new, softer throw pillows, that’s for sure. I can’t believe we have been screwed over by this caliber of crook, ones so used to getting their way they can’t even coordinate their obstruction or extortion in secrecy.

  39. Tech Support says:

    @Alan says

    “Unfortunately, the minute order entered on the docket does not appear to prohibit Stone from sending out mass emails.”

    @Anvil says:

    “Give them all the rope they need to hang themselves.”

    Whether intended by ABJ or not, I believe these two points correlate. It seems like there are now multiple avenues available to get Stone put in the klink well before his trial begins, which I think is critically important. Unlike Manafort who has always been a shadowy operator it’s clear that Stone is a wag, a ham, and an attention whore. I think incarceration will be far more detrimental to his psyche than it’s been to Manafort and a couple of weeks with no pot to smoke and no audience to dance in front of will be torturous.

    Finally, if *I* were running for president under the Democratic ticket in 2020, this immediately puts ABJ at the top of my list for an appellate nomination.

  40. Germane says:

    The judge correctly noted Stone’s decision to use the strategy of attacking others, because it’s one of the rules he has lived by, as noted by Jeffrey Toobin in his 2008 New Yorker profile of Stone.  Stone’s rules: “Attack, attack, attack—never defend” and “Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack.”  Now that he is facing the consequences of his pathological need to lie, perhaps the utility of this strategy has reached its limit.  

  41. Jenny says:

    SUPERB Marcy! Thank you for your analysis. Put a pep in my step today. Judge Amy Berman Jackson was brilliant. Yep, “And there’s nothing ambiguous about crosshairs.”

      • Puncutuated Equilibrium says:

        Tangentially. Evolutionary stasis sums up a couple decades in my life. The variable spelling is a consequence of fat thumbs meeting small keyboard. Evolution will take care of that.

  42. orionATL says:

    rayne 2/22@12:01a

    first build begin building a solid base of evidence against president trump in the house. deliver a subpoena to president trump.

    never pay attention to what teevee or big print media “experts” tell you cannot be done to the prez. test it all out. get the supreme court on record for “obstructing” legally. use that precise term and then use the s.c. votes against republican senatorial and house candidates.

    note to tayne: i removed letters up to the slash after ‘veteran’ and got a 404.

    • Rayne says:


      I know I’ve said in a thread some time ago when folks were yelling Pelosi needed to impeach right the hell now that the process would be necessary to win adequate political support across both sides of the aisle and the greater public sphere.

      I am not saying this should change at all, the process must be observed, and yet I am beginning to worry there are serious crimes in progress which must be halted RTFN. The transfer of nuclear technology is one of them. We have invested so much time, resources, and lives over decades to limit and deter proliferation — Christ, it’s as if we’ve forgotten what it was Valerie Plame did for a living. And now these wretched scum are selling out our country under our noses?

      As for paying “attention to what teevee or big print media ‘experts’ tell you”: I worry media are being co-opted by these crooks at the same time they are dumbing down. They’ve expended insane amounts of energy and pixels on a celebrity’s stupidity this week when we’ve had at least three other Trump administration scandals which received virtually no coverage. This needs to stop or we’re never going to fix this mess because it will have been normalized. We’ll become Russia where corruption is institutionalized and it’s the norm to pay bribes to get anything done — that bullshit needs the boot before it takes root.

      • orionATL says:

        rayne –

        somehow most of my replies are suddenly falling in the proper place behind the suceeding comment for the first time in a while. it makes following an argument and responding back and forth much less time consuming. thanks (and if you didn’t do anything, accept the thanks anyway :) ).

        as for trump&co sins, my watchword is steady as she goes, but she (the good ship Investigate) goes forward – no stampeding, none. these incompatencies (nuclear is very big, tariffs, trade agreements) and policy/laws “crookedness” (epa again, labor, fcc, hud, commerce, i’d bet doj very soon) have been unacceptable in this nation in the past.

        it is important that pelosi and dems work on domestic issues, which i hope she is supervising, to prepare groundwork for house and senate races 21 months from now, especially medicare and the aff care act pre-existing conditions guarantee. those are the issues most all dems ran on and won on regardless of their media label from cortez to that anti-abortion dem in chi-land. child care was clinton’s big contribution to the welfare state and it would have been a enormous boon to workingnwomen and their family incomes. this is CLOSE TO HOME legislation that people remember. do something about these and talk it up big, then shove it down mcconnel’s throat and let amy mcgrath take him on. it still burns my toast that the dem gov spent so much time and political capital making kentucky a medicare aca state before 2014, and the ungrateful wretches of kentucky elected a republican rich guy – voters too dumb to breath are a curse on a state. let’s see in 2020 if they have gotten wise yet about republican “values” speech.

        i’ve noticed the serious increase in the inane coverage of celebrity stupidity and misconduct. i don’t get me interested at all?

  43. Elijah 787 says:

    You’ve totally misread & misunderstood what was taking place during Stone’s bond hearing. It was Berman-Jackson that got lead into a trap. Look up Gibson v. Erie-Lackawana Railroad Co. “When a Trial Judge becomes IN EFFECT the lawyer for one of the (parties) [just as Berman did], (s)he oversteps the bounds of propriety.” THAT means violating Canon 2 & 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Judges are to AVOID ALL APPEARANCES OF IMPROPRIETY. Here’s another precedent case law: Blizard v. Fielding, “Findings (or rulings) by a judge that are UNSUPPORTED by the record is EVIDENCE the judge relied on extra-judicial sources (prohibited ex parte contacts) in making such findings INDICATING PERSONAL BIAS AND PREJUDICE”.

    QUITE CLEARLY, you don’t know very much about the law or the law applicable to this case, or the law that mandates & prohibits certain specific judicial acts, especially those in court. I suggest you study law for a few years so not to make such a fool out of yourself with such biased, hateful, Ridiculous assertions that are completely contradicted by applicable laws & case law. You don’t know what you are talking about – AT ALL. Berman will now be disqualified on several points, including those cited here.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      You missed the part where Stone’s conduct arguably threatened ABJ.

      ABJ was not acting on behalf of the prosecution or in connection with the charges against Stone. She was acting in response to separate conduct by Stone, to protect herself, her court and all other courts, and the integrity of a specific judicial proceeding for which she is responsible.

      Quite clearly, your knowledge of the law and legal process was not derived from years of study and practice. But on thanks for playing.

      • Elijah 787 says:

        So show us where there is a filing on the docket of Stone’s case where ABJ was notified BY THE Prosecutor that Stone had violated his bail conditions? You can’t. And judges are Prohibited under Canon 3 of the federal Code of Judicial Conduct from receiving ANY EX-PARTE contacts where information material to the proceedings is divulged to the judge. Nor can judges act in the role of the prosecutor and ask questions directly to a defendant as ABJ did. That was all the duty of the prosecutor, NOT ABJ. She made a foot of herself by walking right into a trap. She could never ask a defendant questions about privileged attorney-client communications. BUT SHE DID EXACTLY THAT. She’s toast. Watch for the recusal motion Stone’s attorneys will file in the near future. She’s a dumb Demonrat judge. We know that because Obozo appointed her. That speaks volumes. All DC federal court judges are political hacks

    • jayedcoins says:

      I’m sorry, but the knots people are tying themselves into over this entire story (not just Stone, but the entire SCO-and-SCO-adjacent story) are hilarious. Smart people are making themselves look stupid. And this is true on BOTH sides — we’ve got talking heads on MSNBC that certainly have more than a few brain cells looking like conspiracy wingnuts, and we’ve got Glenn Greenwald so focused on said wingnuts that he’s ignoring hugely important facts of the story (such as the president being named an unindicted co-conspirator in an election-related case of his long-time personal lawyer and fixer).

      Look, I am not a lawyer. But I do have two brain cells to rub together. I’d love for bmaz to smack me upside the head here if deserved.

      But sometimes, can we just step back for a second and say, “Shit, this guy clearly and purposefully posted an image of *the judge presiding over his case* with a crosshair near her head, and there’s only one fucking reason you do that!”

      Just, come on man. You’re tying yourself in knots for some absurd reason. Just look at what is happening in front of you and admit that Roger Stone is a crooked clown that has lived a life of total impunity, and it might finally be catching up to him. You or I wouldn’t get away with this crap.

      • Ollie says:

        “Roger Stone is a crooked clown”

        around here pardner we call ole’ Rog “ratfucker”. You’re welcome.

  44. bmaz says:

    Hi there Elijah787 at 2:42 pm, I have over 30 years in practicing criminal law, and I say your comment is completely full of shit. Everything you argue is both idiotic and wrong. A court has extremely broad authority to plumb details that impinge on release terms and conditions. Thanks for playing.

  45. bmaz says:

    Thomas Paine at 3;25 pm – I don’t see any problem in either Mueller or a senior official at DOJ Main asking OLC to revisit their prior opinions on Presidential immunity. Doubt they would get rescinded, but the ask is not really a problem.

    • arbusto says:

      Still fail to understand how an OLC policy trumps law or regulation, especially in establishing a supra legal authority in the Presidency.

  46. Ed Walker says:

    I tend to agree with Chicago Bunny above that it’s really hard to read a really smart judge, and it’s hard for even good lawyers to adjust on the fly. Still, I was surprised that the US Attorney focused so heavily on the First Amendment issues and didn’t seem to be ready to discuss the applicable law, which is the Bail Reform Act. That seems like the place to start. As to recognizing the cross-hairs thing, that seems odd too. That was a big deal in reports on the Instagram pic.

    That’s not to cast blame, though. It’s just an oddity. People do tend to get caught up in replying to the arguments made by the other party, especially when they aren’t the moving party.

  47. LeeNLP says:

    Thanks for the masterful commentary, Marcy.

    I’m within a week of partial retirement, have long worked in the field of medical AI and have wondered about pursuing my decades-long hobby interest in the use of AI in legal analysis. I find reading your daily diary to be incredibly helpful in understanding the processes of legal reasoning and strategy. It’s also helpful, as in today’s essay, in giving me renewed hope in the power of the rule of law against lawlessness and tyranny in this country.

    I wish I could personally thank ABJ, Robert Mueller and the other good folks working behind the scenes to save this democracy.

    Thanks again!

  48. bmaz says:

    Savage Librarian at 4:26 pm, and Harpie prior to that, no. Both lawyers surely knew, even if they each wanted to avoid it. The thought that it was some new revelation is ludicrous.

      • Cathy says:

        @harpie @SL – My first read of the post left me with same reaction as your orig comment. I think I misread a portrayal of Kravis’ sudden realization that ABJ had given him permission to address “danger to community” as a portrayal of sudden realization that “danger to community” existed. ;-)

  49. setlistthief says:

    What a wonderfully satisfying post. If I smoked, I’d probably be enjoying a cigarette right about now.

  50. bmaz says:

    Rayne @ 5:01 pm – Well that Fireball stuff sure is not bourbon. Whiskey is a broader category, but I dunno.

    • Rayne says:

      It’s suitable for a cold preventative when served in a cup of hot black tea with a slice of orange. I am trying to beat back a cold at the same time I welcome Friday night. The person who gifted me with the stuff doesn’t share the same appreciation I have for a particular single malt Scotch so I’ll make the best of it.

  51. Ed Walker says:

    Elijah787 at 2:42 pm: I have 42 years of experience in civil courts and I say you are dead wrong. When there is a legal question not being dealt with by the parties, the judge is free to bring it up. As I noted above, the starting place for analysis of this case is the Bail Reform Act, which the parties mostly ignored in favor of other issues. ABJ was absolutely right to direct the legal question, especially on a motion she initiated. Also, what bmaz said.

  52. orionATL says:

    leenlp 2/22@4:09

    just a suggestion. the problem of chronolgies (also called timelines), which consist of dates and events (somtimesjany, sometimes noje or few) associated with those dates, and how to

    1) add data to them (that is to each date) over time


    2) how to integrate two chronologies which have some of the same dates.

    of course the classic medical ai problem is predicting what medical problem a patient has, if any. no doubt you’ve worked on many more.

    good luck!

    • LeeNLP says:

      Thanks! And you’re right- temporal reasoning is both very important and nontrivial to get right.

      One problem I’ve worked with recently is in the area of social risk factors, including the patient’s housing situation. Given that the patient may have been all over the place (living with grandchild, assisted living, hospital, care center, hospital, home ..) within the past few months, questions like “Is the patient living at home or in an assistive setting?” quickly become non-trivial, at least for computers.

  53. Richieboy says:

    “Well, uh, your honor, sir, uh—MA’AM! Sorry, I mean ma’am, I uh, um, homina, homina, homina. Hey, look! A unicorn!”

  54. Eureka says:

    Marcy just issued a PSA (minithread) on Manafort Moonlight Madness:

    emptywheel: “PSA: It is officially unclear whether the Manafort sentencing memo will be released tonight, on account of treatment of redactions.”
    Bummer, as I had already notified my husband that he would be a Mueller Widower tonight.

    Adding: tho talk on Chris Hayes now about NYS plans to charge Manafort

    • Eureka says:

      In a confluence of clashing metaphors, I just realized MW is our expert version of Sister Jean. And I thought Michigan beat Loyola anyway. (No I have not been huffing the Dr Bronners; apparently could use a stiff drink, tho. On to it…)

  55. Shak says:

    New to this site, now an avid reader. This post, and many before it, are quite an insightful read!
    A quick google search yields a potential source of Stone’s Instagram jpeg, a conspiracy theory site, which makes his claim about “a celtic cross” look even dumber…
    http:// cosmicconvergence. org /?p=30951

    [Link “broken” to prevent accidental click through. Site does not use HTTPS, contains conspiracy theory materials./~Rayne]

    • Fran of the North says:

      No, No, NO! Links like this aren’t helpful, and your platitudes are baloney. Troll somewhere else comrade!

  56. Contrarian says:

    Great job on the legal analysis, but I have a more fundamental question. Stone was cooperating with the bogus investigation. The raid at his house exceeded the force used to kill Osama Bin Laden. Certain (fake) news agencies were (illegally) given the “heads up” so the event could be recorded and replayed on national television. Clearly an attempt to sway public opinion and poison the jury pool. ABJ is just another corrupt cog in the corrupt judiciary. Why are they so afraid to let Stone speak publicly? Regardless of how anyone feels about Stone specifically the brazen use of unnecessary force, showboating for the media, and suppressing free speech is chilling. The Deep State is alive an well and can turn on any of you reading this at any time.

    • Rayne says:

      I’ve let this comment out of the hopper because it’s a solid example of pure right-wing spin.

      – Stone’s Instagram threat wasn’t cooperation.
      – The raid at his house looked a lot like the raid on Manafort’s house; funny how right-wing trolls didn’t get riled up about the Manafort raid. Stone had more than a year to get his PR street team together (and the street team may well leave comments like this one by “Contrarian”).
      – CNN staked out Stone’s house because of a pattern of behavior, not because of leaks; accusations without evidence mean precisely jack.
      – The comment left by “Contrarian” is itself an attempt to sway public opinion; jury pool won’t be hanging out here, though.
      – ABJ is a judge whose body of work experience speaks for itself; “Contrarian” is looking at a single case they don’t like or are volunteering/being paid to dislike.
      – Stone has spoken publicly but his Instagram incitement isn’t protected speech; he’s still allowed to speak publicly but he can’t speak about his case because he’s proven he’ll indulge in incitement.
      – Deep State got pants’d between 2014-2016 and now it’s reorienting itself to make money in a new ecosystem – it could give a shit about this site if it’s making money.
      – And we all know how *you* feel about your Stone, fanboi “Contrarian.”

      As trolling goes, this one gets an A for effort, spelling, and use of complete sentences. F for fuck all the way off.

      Seriously, don’t bother. Find something constructive to do with your time elsewhere.

      • Fran of the North says:

        Please accept my apologies for feeding the bear. I just had to refute the base premise. Please delete any and all to maintain thread discipline.
        Best, Fran

        • Rayne says:

          It’s okay, I hadn’t checked the link in Shak’s case and I should have. Usually something like that one gets hung up and I check it but it must have slipped by. As for “Contrarian”: it’s probably good that community members see from time to time some of the stuff we’re batting away; best not to harbor illusions this place is a peaceful harbor of refuge. LOL

  57. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    To those who cannot state IANAL-

    I’m curious about your thoughts regarding the tactical question faced by Stone’s attorneys: Do you put Stone on the stand at the hearing? Personally I would not have put him on the stand. Although I would have sent him to the pokey had I been the Judge- based on his testimony, I think that ABJ would not have sent him to the pokey had he not taken the stand. And by taking the stand, he exposed himself to acperjury investigation and possible perjury charges. Hindsight is 20-20, but I’m interested in hearing from other attorneys on this point.

  58. DrFunguy says:

    What is your evidence that “Certain (fake) news agencies were (illegally) given the “heads up” so the event could be recorded and replayed on national television.” ?
    Also what makes them (fake)?

    Oh, you’re just trolling, nevermind.

  59. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Thank you Marcy! It’s clearly possible to be one of the smartest people in the room, without even being in the room!

  60. Fran of the North says:

    @Contrarian, 23:20

    “The raid at his house exceeded the force used to kill OBL…”

    Your lack of knowledge is only exceeded by your willingness to put it on display.

    How many helicopters were involved? Any LO airframes that have never been seen before?  How about CH-47’s as exfiltration support? Nope, just Ford SUV’s.

    25 DevGRU operators? Nope, A dozen federal officers.

    RC-170s? None to be seen, but perhaps, circling to ensure that POTUS would be fully informed.

    Any MC-130’s? Unlikely, because they can’t refuel ground vehicles.

    How about satellite links and real time video? I guess you got me there, Fake News was there broadcasting away.

    And that doesn’t even take into account the stuff we don’t know about including blocking forces to prevent ground interdiction and air power to suppress Paki air.

    Go back to stroking your Kalashnikov and dreaming of a soviet motherland.

  61. bmaz says:

    Harpie at 7:34 am – No, was not a dumb comment at all. Pretty easy to see that both lawyers wanted to avoid the elephant in the room though. Neither knew where ABJ wanted to, or was going to, go. And rule number one for an attorney in the court well is don’t piss off the judge.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Yes, I can see that now. Comments from Cathy and chicago bunny were helpful as well.

      It does make me think that the world would be a better place if we could all treat each other like judges, though.

  62. Ken says:

    So, are Manafort, Stone et al outliers or is the arc of the moral universe finally starting to bend towards justice for rich white guy dirty deeds?

  63. bmaz says:

    Dear Edatbigmo at 10:05 am, what in the world makes you say that?? It is a blithe statement with no connection to the federal sentencing guidelines or history. You know there are people here who understand federal sentencing, right?

    This even before consideration of the differences between civil and criminal contempt. This is a weak entry to this forum.

  64. Ebenezer Goose says:

    Excellent article and very incisive. IMHO, it is a shame ABJ did not order the take-down of Roger the Ratfucker’s “Who Framed Roger Stone” website too. In it he makes various attempts to persuade sympathisers to part with their cash, with false claims against the US judicial system such as:-

    “Mueller seeks to criminalize normal political activities by Roger Stone while ignoring the blatantly illegal activities of the Clinton campaign and the Obama NSA,DOJ and FBI.”


    “It is becoming clear that Special Counsel Robert Mueller intends to frame Roger Stone for some bogus “offense” unrelated to Russian collusion, Wikileaks, or perhaps even the 2016 election.”

    https:// whoframedrogerstone .com/ (last visited 2019-02-24 20:45 UTC) **

    Perhaps ABJ does not know it exists? Or perhaps she is waiting for the subject to crop up at his next hearing? :-)

    [** Link broken to prevent unintended click through by community members. Copy link and remove spaces to use this URL, but use with caution since the site could track visitors and contain malware. I am not vetting that site. /~Rayne]

    • Ebenezer Goose says:

      My apologies. I’m a GNU/Linux and NoScript user and relatively impervious to such malarkey, But I realise that others might not be. Besides, we are talking about Roger the Ratfucker’s site. So all sorts of malicious intent and general skulduggery is possible. Out of curiosity I did look at the site source, and it does contain a so-called “Facebook Pixel” tracker. No idea what he intends doing with it. But to those visiting the site out of curiosity, caution is advised.

      In any event, if I post a URL again here on this site, I will ensure the link is broken. :-)

  65. Hurltim says:

    Human nature is an amazing thing. I am sure Ratfucker’s attorneys begged and pleaded with him not to take the stand yet he chose to ignore it. I am sure similar circumstances arose in the Manafort case. I am also sure that in both cases, their lawyers had a come to Jesus with their clients explaining exactly what their chances are of spending time in prison. It’s just astounding that these guys chose the wrong path, on purpose.
    Not to compare any of this to Nazi Germany, but it always amazed me that so many intelligent people sat around and agreed to the Final Solution. Is this just another example of the dangers of Echo Chamber management or is it just plain old crazy pants?
    I hope to Christ never to be in a position where I think I am smarter than the informed advice of those around me.

  66. timbo says:

    Thanks for the excellent reporting and analysis on this!  It’s like a ray of hope beaming through the ominous storm clouds.  Lastly, once again, kudos to the moderators and participants here—cleanish and lively is not easy.

  67. x174 says:

    Fun post. It’s nice to see how in this age of non-stop unprocessed torrent of news that mt dials back the clock, slows down the entire process, and just looks carefully and patiently at what actually took place. Clear articulate explication of how ABJ trapped the malicious rat-fucker using his and his own representation’s words is a marvel to behold; especially with the inimitable expert analysis. It seems that the best way to bring down the sloppy and slobbering trump faction is to follow in the footsteps of ABJ: attack them meticulously from an orthogonal direction.

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