- Roger Stone was convicted on Friday in federal court in Washington, DC, of obstructing justice, making false statements to investigators, and tampering with witness testimony.
- The special counsel Robert Mueller’s office indicted Stone in January on one count of obstruction of justice, five counts of making false statements to the FBI and congressional investigators, and one count of witness tampering.
- The initial charging document contained a slew of details about Stone’s false statements to Congress about his interactions involving WikiLeaks.
- Mueller’s team scrutinised the many late-night phone calls between Trump and Stone that took place during the 2016 campaign.
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Roger Stone, a Republican political operative and longtime ally of President Donald Trump, was convicted on Friday in federal court in Washington, DC, of obstructing justice, making false statements to investigators, and tampering with witness testimony.
The special counsel Robert Mueller’s office indicted Stone in January on seven charges – one count of obstruction of justice, five counts of making false statements to the FBI and congressional investigators, and one count of witness tampering – in connection with his contacts with people linked to the radical pro-transparency group WikiLeaks. He was convicted on all seven counts on Friday.
After Mueller formally wrapped up his Russia investigation in March, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia took over and continued to prosecute Stone’s case.
Stone, an early informal Trump campaign adviser, had pleaded not guilty. He also emphasised that he would not testify against Trump, but left the door open to cooperating with prosecutors against others on the campaign who could have been ensnared in the Russia investigation.
The charging document against Stone contained a slew of details about Stone’s false statements to Congress about his interactions involving WikiLeaks; about his extensive communications with the far-right commentator Jerome Corsi and the radio host Randy Credico about WikiLeaks’ document dumps in summer 2016; and about his prolonged efforts to prevent Credico from testifying to Congress or turning over information to the FBI.
here's my verdict form. will try to report count by count. pic.twitter.com/BOE2aPf1hX
— Darren Samuelsohn (@dsamuelsohn) November 15, 2019
Trump reacted to the news of Stone’s conviction with anger and dismay, suggesting in a tweet that many of his political opponents had also committed crimes.
As the verdict sheet shows, the five false statements counts the jury convicted Stone on were related to statements he made in a closed-door hearing before the House Intelligence Committee in September of 2017.
Specifically, Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress in the following ways outlined in the indictment:
- Claiming hadn’t exchanged emails with Wikileaks with third-parties like Credico and Corsi.
- Saying that Corsi was his only intermediary with Wikileaks.
- Denying that he asked Credico to be an envoy between himself and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
- Denying he communicated with Credico regarding Wikileaks altogether.
- Denying that he relayed his communications with Credico to Trump campaign officials.
Not only is making false statements to Congress a crime on its own, but the indictment said that Stone’s misleading testimony deliberately obstructed ongoing investigations by the FBI, House Intelligence Committee, and Senate Intelligence Committee.
The first charge against Stone listed on the verdict sheet for obstruction of proceedings included Stone’s obstruction of congressional proceedings by lying to the Intelligence Committee both in written and in-person testimony.
Mueller’s team scrutinised the many late-night phone calls between Trump and Stone that took place during the 2016 campaign. The calls drew prosecutors’ attention as they investigated whether Stone or anyone else served as a conduit between Trump and WikiLeaks during the election.
Stone, whose links to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, are well known, has said he never spoke with Trump about either.
Stone had exchanged Twitter direct messages with Guccifer 2.0, the Russian hacker who helped WikiLeaks disseminate stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee, as well as with WikiLeaks’ main account in October 2016. And he was corresponding throughout that summer with Corsi and Credico about obtaining the hacked emails that had not been published online from WikiLeaks.
In an email dated August 2, 2016, Corsi told Stone he was in Europe and planned to return in mid-August. Corsi wrote: “Word is friend in embassy” – a reference to Assange, who was living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in the UK – “plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.”
Corsi added that it was “time to let more than” the Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta, “be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC.”
He added: “That appears to be the game hackers are now about. Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC old, memory bad, has stroke – neither he nor she well. I expect that much of next dump focus, setting stage for Foundation debacle.”
Stone spoke with Trump on the phone later that day, though it’s unclear what their conversation was about, the indictment said.
Stone came onto the political scene in the 1980s, founding a Republican political consulting firm and becoming a well known lobbyist.
He began working with Trump in the 1980s and initially pushed him to run for president in 1988. While Trump declined to run then, Stone was behind Trump’s ultimately failed Reform Party presidential bid in 2000 and his successful 2016 presidential campaign.
- Read more:
- Meet Roger Stone, one of Trump’s most loyal supporters, who was found guilty of obstructing the Russia investigation
- Here are all the known contacts between the campaign and Russian government-linked people or entities
- Here are the identities of all the unnamed people and organisations in Mueller’s indictment of Roger Stone