Judge Amy Berman Jackson must once again decide whether to revoke the conditions of release for a defendant tied to the special counsel’s Russia investigation.
First, it was Paul Manafort. The former Trump campaign chairman found himself behind bars this past summer after he was arraigned on new charges accusing him of attempting to tamper with potential witnesses. The revocation of Manafort’s bond came after Jackson, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, already put him on notice in November 2017 over ghostwriting an op-ed for the Ukrainian English newspaper Kyiv Post.
Jackson struck a tone of regret when sending Manafort to jail, saying she thought “long and hard” about the decision. Ultimately, Jackson said she was “troubled” by Manafort’s attempts to contact potential witnesses by phone and encrypted messaging.
Now, it’s Roger Stone who must explain why his conditions for release and a media contact order placed on him shouldn’t be revoked or changed in light of a photo he posted on Instagram that featured Jackson with a crosshair next to her head. The post was taken down, but not before it caught significant social media attention.
Stone’s legal team filed an apology with the court, but it was not enough to head off Thursday’s hearing before Jackson.
The post came just days after Stone’s legal team asked for a new judge. Stone’s lawyers questioned the fairness of assigning the case to Jackson instead of randomly assigning it to a judge under local criminal rules. Randomly assigning a judge is an essential element of due process to ensure a fair trial, Stone’s lawyers said in their request for a new judge.
Jackson has been handling many of the cases brought by special counsel Robert Mueller III’s team as it investigates Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election.
Stone is fighting charges that he lied to congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, obstructed justice and tampered with a witness. Those charges were brought by prosecutors working for Mueller and the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., Jessie Liu. Their offices are jointly handling Stone’s case.
Stone is represented by Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based attorneys Bruce Rogow, Grant Smith of StrategySmith, and Robert Buschel of Buschel & Gibbons. He also has a Washington, D.C.-based attorney, L. Peter Farkas of Halloran Farkas + Kittila.
Jackson is no stranger to the spotlight. She’s presided over high-profile cases, including a class action over the Office of Personnel Management’s data breach and the Justice Department’s blockbuster challenge to Anthem Inc.’s proposed $54 billion acquisition of Cigna Corp.
She also oversaw the 2012 lawsuit for documents tied to the botched gun sting known as “Operation Fast and Furious.” Jackson ruled against the Obama administration at one point in that case, saying it could not claim executive privilege to withhold some of the documents.
Jackson, a former Trout Cacheris litigation partner in Washington, was confirmed in 2011. She graduated in 1979 from Harvard Law School, where one of her classmates included Chief Justice John Roberts. She also served as a law clerk to Judge Harrison Winter of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia before going into private practice.