Roger Stone's Instagram account displayed and then deleted a post showing a picture of the federal judge overseeing his prosecution case and which included an image of a crosshair, often used to denote a target.
The image of U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson was posted on the Instagram account of Stone, a former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump, with a message that appeared to be a fundraising appeal for his legal defense costs.
The post was up for about an hour before it was taken down.
Stone later posted a statement on Instagram saying the image had been "misinterpreted."
"This was a random photo taken from the Internet," Stone wrote. "Any inference that this was meant to somehow threaten the Judge or disrespect court is categorically false."
Stone has been charged with lying, witness tampering and obstruction, and Berman, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., who is overseeing the case, issued a gag order on Friday, forbidding attorneys, prosecutors and witnesses in the case from speaking publicly about it.
The initial Instagram post on Stone's account on Monday slammed Jackson as an Obama-appointed judge.
"Through legal trickery Deep State hitman Robert Mueller has guaranteed that my upcoming show trial is before Judge Amy Berman Jackson , an Obama appointed Judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges again Hillary Clinton and incarcerated Paul Manafort prior to his conviction for any crime," the caption said.
"Help me fight for my life," he wrote, adding a website link.
The photo of Jackson in the post has previously circulated on right-wing blogs. It shows Jackson with a crosshair image in the corner of the picture. The symbol is often used to represent a target.
Before the post was removed it drew reaction on social media.
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut called the image "stomach turning" on Twitter.
Stone's charges grew out of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and came after his arrest on Jan. 25 during a pre-dawn raid of his Florida home.