- GOP strategist Roger Stone told INSIDER his close associate, Jerome Corsi, committed a crime when he reportedly lied to federal investigators about email correspondences with Stone and the American academic Ted Malloch.
- Corsi rejected a plea deal from the special counsel Robert Mueller this week because he would have had to plead guilty to perjury, but he maintains that he did not mislead prosecutors.
- In a draft statement of offence against Corsi that was obtained by NBC News, prosecutors laid out a series of emails between Stone and Corsi that appear to contradict his statements to investigators.
- Stone downplayed the significance of the emails themselves but said “the only thing illegal here” is “that [Corsi] tried to delete these emails and then lied about them to federal agents.”
The longtime GOP strategist Roger Stone told INSIDER on Wednesday that his close associate, the far-right commentator Jerome Corsi, committed a crime by reportedly lying to federal investigators.
Both Corsi and Stone are at the center of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether members of President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow.
A significant thread in the inquiry focuses on whether any Trump associates had advance knowledge of Russia’s hack of the Democratic National Committee and WikiLeaks’ subsequent dissemination of stolen emails.
Corsi was subpoenaed to testify in the Russia investigation in September about his ties to Stone, WikiLeaks, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He told reporters this week that he had rejected a plea deal from Mueller because he would have to plead guilty to one count of perjury. Corsi maintains that he did not knowingly mislead investigators.
But NBC News obtained a draft statement of offence from Mueller’s office this week in which prosecutors laid out a series of emails between Corsi and Stone that appear to contradict statements he made to investigators.
According to the statement of offence, which has not been filed, Stone emailed Corsi on July 25, three days after WikiLeaks published the first batch of hacked DNC emails, and told him to “get to (Assange) [a]t Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending [WikiLeaks] emails.”
Corsi reportedly told investigators that he rebuffed Stone’s request, but prosecutors had evidence showing that Corsi in fact forwarded Stone’s request to Ted Malloch, a right-wing commentator in London. Malloch was also subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury earlier this year.
Eight days later, on August 2, Corsi touched base with Stone to tell him about the upcoming document dump. “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps,” Corsi reportedly wrote to Stone.
Corsi was likely referring to Assange, who has been seeking refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. “One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct,” Corsi wrote. “Impact planned to be very damaging.”
A little over two weeks later, on August 21, Stone tweeted that Clinton campaign manager John Podesta would “soon” be targeted.
On October 7, WikiLeaks published a damaging batch of emails belonging to Podesta.
NBC News reported that prosecutors said between January 13, 2017, and March 1, 2017, Corsi deleted all emails from his computer that were sent or received before October 11, 2016. They included his correspondences with Stone and Malloch.
Stone told INSIDER on Wednesday that the emails included in the draft statement of offence “prove nothing at all,” adding that “legitimate political inquiry it’s [sic] not illegal in America.”
He acknowledged, however, that Corsi did something “illegal” when he “[decided] to lie about receiving those emails.”
“The only thing illegal here” is “that [Corsi] tried to delete these emails and then lied about them to federal agents,” Stone said. “Nothing in the emails themselves is evidence of illegal activity unless they have criminalized legitimate political inquiry.”
Corsi’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Stone is known to have been in direct contact with WikiLeaks and the Russia-linked hacker Guccifer 2.0 during the election. He has also said that he communicated indirectly with Assange through the radio host Randy Credico, though Credico denies being Stone’s link to the WikiLeaks founder.
Subsequent reporting has also indicated that he misled congressional investigators when he testified before the House Intelligence Committee last year about his connections to Assange and WikiLeaks. Stone told INSIDER that he expects to be indicted soon.