Thursday 21 November 2019

Trump associate Roger Stone arrested in witness tampering probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office says Stone faces charges including obstruction and false statements.

Donald Trump (Niall Carson/PA)
Donald Trump (Niall Carson/PA)

By Associated Press Reporters

Roger Stone, a confidant of Donald Trump, has been arrested on several criminal charges stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Stone is charged in a seven-count indictment involving witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his interactions related to the release by WikiLeaks of hacked emails during the 2016 presidential election.

Some of those false statements were made to the House Intelligence Committee, according to the indictment.

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Roger Stone (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

The indictment brought by Mr Mueller does not accuse Stone of co-ordinating with the Russian government’s election interference in 2016, the key matter under investigation in the probe, but it lays out in detail Stone’s conversations about stolen Democratic emails posted by WikiLeaks in the weeks before Mr Trump beat his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Mr Mueller’s office has said those emails, belonging to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, were hacked by Russian intelligence officers.

Stone is scheduled to appear in court in Florida later.

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Hillary Clinton (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The indictment had been expected. Stone has said for months he was prepared to be charged, although he has denied any wrongdoing.

A grand jury has for months heard from witnesses connected to Stone, and the intelligence committee last year voted to release a transcript of his evidence to Mr Mueller as a precursor to an indictment.

Stone has publicly condemned the Mueller investigation and echoed the president’s descriptions of it as a witch hunt, but he has long attracted investigators’ attention, especially in light of a 2016 tweet that appeared to presage knowledge that emails stolen from Mr Podesta would soon be released.

Stone has said he had no inside information about the contents of the emails in WikiLeaks’ possession or the timing of when they would be released.

He has said he learned from Randy Credico, a New York radio host, that WikiLeaks had the emails and planned to disclose them. Stone has released emails that he says support that assertion.

Prosecutors had offered a plea agreement to Stone friend Jerome Corsi that would have required the conspiracy theorist and conservative author to admit that he intentionally lied to investigators about a discussion with Stone about WikiLeaks, but he rejected the offer.

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