- Roger Stone has settled a defamation lawsuit with a Chinese businessman he attacked as a “turncoat criminal” in articles for right-wing conspiracy site InfoWars.
- He will publicly retract and apologise for the claims he made about Chinese businessman Guo Wengui in the news media and on his social media in lieu of paying out damages.
- Stone is currently in the crosshairs of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Republican operative and former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone has settled a defamation lawsuit with a Chinese businessman he attacked as a “turncoat criminal” in articles for right-wing conspiracy site InfoWars, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
Guo Wengui, an exiled Chinese billionaire and asset manager known for his strong criticisms and accusations of corruption against the Chinese government and major corporations, sued Stone in federal court in Florida seeking $US100 million in damages from Stone over the allegedly defamatory articles.
The suit alleged Stone had defamed Guo by calling him a “turncoat criminal who is convicted of crimes here and in China” and alleging without evidence that Guo had violated US campaign finance laws by making campaign donations as a foreign national, which is illegal.
Guo fled China in 2014 and applied for asylum in the United States after Chinese authorities threatened to arrest him on a number of charges including bribery, fraud, money laundering, and kidnapping – and is currently under an Interpol Red Notice. He has not yet been convicted.
As part of the settlement, Stone will run advertisements in American newspapers apologizing for the accusations and retract his claims on social media in lieu of paying out damages to Guo.
In a Monday post to his Instagram account, Stone acknowledged the retractions but mainly attacked Shelby Holliday, one of the Wall Street Journal reporters who covered it:
“@shelbyholliday, the single most dishonest, duplicitous, untrustworthy, sneaky “reporter” in America today does it again trying to create the impression that because I retracted ONE story of the hundreds of stories I have reported for InfoWars that all my reporting (like hers) is incorrect,” Stone wrote. “She, as usual truncated my statement and took it out of context.”
Stone is currently in the crosshairs of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign collaborated with Moscow to tilt the race in Trump’s favour. The special counsel has called at least seven of his associates to testify before the grand jury convened to hear testimony in the probe.
Stone’s involvement in the Russia probe revolves around whether he knew about WikiLeaks’ plans to release of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign that were allegedly hacked by Russian security officers to sow discord in the 2016 election.
While the lawsuit is unrelated to the Russia probe, it could have implications for his legal defence going forward. Stone has lamented in recent weeks that the Mueller investigation could “destroy” him financially, and has been using his social media to fundraise for himself.