- Trump ally and informal campaign adviser Roger Stone said Friday he plans to plead not guilty to seven federal charges he faces in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
- On Friday, Stone was indicted 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.
- He also said he will not “bear false witness” against President Donald Trump, who has frequently decried “flippers” in court cases.
The longtime Trump ally and informal campaign adviser Roger Stone said Thursday he plans to plead not guilty to seven federal charges he faces in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and will not testify against President Donald Trump.
Early Friday morning, the special counsel’s office indicted Stone 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 in connection with his contacts with people linked to the radical pro-transparency group WikiLeaks.
As part of the investigation, Mueller is examining whether any Trump associates had advance knowledge that Russian hackers had breached the servers of the Democratic National Committee and stolen batches of emails belonging to the committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
The emails were disseminated by WikiLeaks, and the leaks are widely seen as a factor contributing to Clinton’s loss in the 2016 election.
FBI agents arrested Stone at his Fort Lauderdale, Florida, home and took him into custody. Later Friday morning, Stone was released on a $US250,000 bond, with a federal judge restricting his travel to court appearances in New York, Virginia, and Florida.
“I will plead not guilty to these charges, I will defeat them in court, I believe this is a politically motivated investigation,” he told reporters after his release from custody, throwing up two peace signs to mimic President Richard Nixon’s famous victory symbol.
Stone has frequently echoed Trump’s claims that the Mueller investigation is a rigged “witch hunt” and a deep-state plot meant to take down Trump and anyone who sides with him.
In an appearance on InfoWars hosted by far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Stone said there was “no circumstance” under which he would plead guilty to any of the crimes or “bear false witness against the president,” encouraging viewers to donate to his legal-defence fund.
Trump has publicly lambasted people who have cooperated with the Mueller probe, including his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, as “flippers” and “liars,” but praised people who chose to go to trial, such as his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, as brave.
After Stone vowed to not testify against Trump in December, Trump lauded Stone for not being “forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories” in a tweet. “Nice to know that some people still have “guts!” he added.