Roger Stone Pleads "Not Guilty", Vows Not To Testfiy Against President Trump

Update 5: Released on $250,000 bail, Roger Stone said Friday as he left court that he will plead not guilty to charges brought against him by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The Hill reports that Stone told reporters outside of a federal courthouse in Florida that he will go to trial over the indictment, saying that it is "incorrect" that he made false statements during his testimony before Congress. 

He also dug in on his previous vow not to testify against Trump.

" There is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the president," Stone said, "nor will I make up lies to ease the pressure on myself."

Stone said he will be arraigned on the charges in a Washington, D.C., court next week. 

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Update 4: As Washington reporters sift through the indictment of Roger Stone, confusion about exactly what he is being charged with, as well as the implications for the Trump administration, has already seeped into the coverage.

Following Stone's first court appearance on Friday, his bail was set at $250,000 and his travel limited to Washington DC, Virginia, New York and Florida (Stone can't leave the country, but his passport wasn't taken because, according to his lawyers, he has no valid passport).

With rulings in the case about to accelerate, the Washington Examiner's Byron York has published a handy guide to the Stone indictment that aims to set the record straight. Instead of being a broad indictment of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian-backed agents, the indictment sketches a picture of a man who had been pushed to the periphery of Trump World as the campaign locked up the nomination, who maybe ran his mouth a little too much. But importantly, Stone wasn't accused of directly coordinating with Wikileaks - indeed he had no advanced knowledge of the contents of the leaks. And he never lied in his interviews with Mueller, either.

All of the lies Stone allegedly told stemmed from his September 2017 interview with the HPSCI, as well as what he told his unindicted associates. Or as York puts it:

In the end, it appears Stone's big problem was his big mouth. He liked to brag about being behind all sorts of nefarious deeds when in fact he was not, or he had a tangential connection to them. That led to this chain of events: 1) Stone bragged in public; 2) the House committee asked him about his bragging under oath; and 3) Mueller investigated the veracity of Stone's sworn testimony. If Stone had not popped off about himself all the time, he probably would not have gotten himself in trouble.

Here's a count-by-count breakdown (text courtesy of WashEx):

  • Count One alleges that Stone obstructed the House committee's investigation by denying he had emails and other documents about WikiLeaks-related contacts. During his House testimony, Stone was asked if he had "emails to anyone concerning the allegations of hacked documents ... or any discussions you have had with third parties about [WikiLeaks]?" Stone answered that he did not, when in fact he had a bunch of emails and other communications. The obstruction charge also alleges Stone attempted to prevent Credico from testifying or tried to convince him to testify falsely.

Counts two through six concern specific statements to the House committee. Count Two is based on Stone's assertion that he did not have emails.

  • Count Three alleges that Stone lied when he said that Credico was his only "go-between" to Assange, when in fact, Stone was also in contact with Corsi for that purpose. "At no time did Stone identify [Corsi] to [the House] as another individual Stone contacted to serve as a 'go-between,'" the indictment says.
  • Count Four alleges that Stone lied when he said he did not ask Credico to communicate anything to Assange, when in fact Stone asked both Credico and Corsi to get in touch with Assange "to pass on requests ... for documents Stone believed would be damaging to the Clinton campaign."
  • Count Five alleges that Stone lied when he told the House that he and Credico did not communicate via text message or email about WikiLeaks. Stone told the committee the two talked over the phone, when in fact, according to the indictment, "Stone and [Credico] ... engaged in frequent written communications by email and text message."
  • Count Six alleges that Stone lied when he testified that he had never discussed his conversations with Credico with anyone at the Trump campaign, when in fact, "Stone spoke to multiple individuals involved in the Trump campaign about what he claimed to have learned from his intermediary to [WikiLeaks]."
  • Count Seven is a witness tampering charge, alleging that Stone tried to convince Credico to take the Fifth or to lie to the House committee.

Notably, the indictment doesn't allege that Stone had direct contact with Julian Assange (as media reports have suggested) and it doesn't allege that he had extensive communications with anybody in the Trump Campaign related to Wikileaks.

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Update 3: Roger Stone's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day just got worse.

According to media reports, Amy Berman Jackson, the same judge who presided in the case brought against Manafort in Washington, will be the judge overseeing Stone's case.

As we mentioned earlier, Stone will make is first appearance in her courtroom at 11 am ET.

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Update 2: A source from within the FBI has confirmed that the unidentified Trump administration official cited in the Stone indictment is former White House Chief Strategist (and Trump campaign manager) Steve Bannon.

Steve Bannon is the "high-ranking campaign official" referenced in the discussion of October emails in the 24-page indictment released today by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The other two unnamed individuals in the indictment - Person 1 and Person 2 - are widely believed to be Jerome Corsi and Randy Credico.

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Update: Though nobody is saying the president did anything wrong with regards to Friday's indictment of Roger Stone (notably, the indictment didn't allude to any interactions between Stone and the president) Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday felt it appropriate to remind the media that the president "did nothing wrong" regarding the Stone indictment.

Stone worked for dozens of Republicans, Sanders said, and the charges in the indictment have "nothing to do" with the president, she said during an interview on CNN.

Asked if Trump directed the campaign official to contact Stone about the stolen emails released by Wikileaks, Sanders refused to speculate. She also said she wasn't aware of any heads up given by the DOJ to the White House about Stone's arrest (though clearly the DOJ felt comfortable giving CNN advanced notice).

“I haven’t read this document,” she said. “I’m not an attorney. I’m not going to be able to get into the weeds on the specifics.”

However, if the past is a guide, we imagine this, too, will be lost on the likes of CNN and NBC.

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Former Trump advisor Roger Stone, who has been under scrutiny by Special Counsel Robert Mueller over his alleged contacts with Wikileaks, has been arrested In Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. on a seven-count indictment: One count of obstruction, five counts of making false statements and one count of witness tampering.

The arrest - which like many of Mueller's high profile arrests, occurred early on a Friday - isn't exactly a surprise: Stone has long said he expected to be indicted by a grand jury convened by Mueller.

As reporters comb through the Stone indictment, one twitter user pointed out that Mueller had determined that Stone had been "contacted by senior campaign officials to inquire about future releases" of information stolen by Wikileaks from the DNC.

Stone will make an initial appearance later Friday at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. Late last year, Trump famously tweeted a congratulatory message to Stone after the advisor said he would never testify against the president - something that is likely being scrutinized by investigators. The indictment, which was under seal until Stone was taken into custody, was handed down by the jury on Thursday.

In a summary tweeted by WaPo's Aaron Blake, Stone was busted for lying about the nature of his contacts with his "intermediary" to Wikileaks (he had two intermediaries previously reported to be journalists Randy Credico and Jerome Corsi) and for lying about his communications with senior campaign officials and Wikileaks about the latter's upcoming releases of stolen emails. Stone raised eyebrows during the campaign for "predicting" the release of emails embarrassing to the Clinton campaign.

The indictment also alleges that Stone requested specific Clinton-related information from Wikileaks.

He also allegedly asked a witness appearing before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to pull a "Frank Pentangeli", a reference to a famous scene in the Godfather II when a government witness pretends not to know anything about Michael Corleone's criminal activities during a Congressional hearing.

In the indictment, Mueller accuses Stone of...

8. In response, STONE took steps to obstruct these investigations.

Among other steps to obstruct the investigations, STONE:

a. Made multiple false statements to HPSCI about his interactions regarding Organization 1, and falsely denied possessing records that contained evidence of these interactions; and

b. Attempted to persuade a witness to provide false testimony to and withhold pertinent information from the investigations.

Stone's requests to "Organization 1" - clearly identified as Wikileaks - were occasionally very specific, with Stone at times asking if Wikileaks had specific "dirt" on Hillary Clinton relating to incidents that occurred during her tenure as Secretary of State.

d. On or about September 18, 2016, STONE sent a text message to Person 2 that said, “I am e-mailing u a request to pass on to [the head of Organization 1].” Person 2 responded “Ok,” and added in a later text message, “[j]ust remember do not name me as your connection to [the head of Organization 1] you had one before that you referred to.”

i. On or about the same day, September 18, 2016, STONE emailed Person 2 an article with allegations against then-candidate Clinton related to her service as Secretary of State. STONE stated, “Please ask [the head of Organization 1] for any State or HRC e-mail from August 10 to August 30—particularly on August 20, 2011 that mention [the subject of the article] or confirm this narrative.”

ii. On or about September 19, 2016, STONE texted Person 2 again, writing, “Pass my message . . . to [the head of Organization 1].” Person 2 responded, “I did.” On or about September 20, 2016, Person 2 forwarded the request to a friend who was an attorney with the ability to contact the head of Organization 1. Person 2 blindcopied STONE on the forwarded email.

The indictment also accuses Stone of keeping an individual affiliated with the Trump campaign apprised of Wikileaks' plans to dump emails stolen from the DNC and Hillary campaign chairman John Podesta.

16. In or around October 2016, STONE made statements about Organization 1’s future releases, including statements similar to those that Person 2 made to him. For example: a. On or about October 3, 2016, STONE wrote to a supporter involved with the Trump Campaign, “Spoke to my friend in London last night. The payload is still coming.”

b. Also on or about October 3, 2016, STONE received an email from a reporter who had connections to a high-ranking Trump Campaign official that asked, “[the head 9 of Organization 1] – what’s he got? Hope it’s good.” STONE responded in part, “It is. I’d tell [the high-ranking Trump Campaign official] but he doesn’t call me back.”

c. On or about October 4, 2016, the head of Organization 1 held a press conference but did not release any new materials pertaining to the Clinton Campaign. Shortly afterwards, STONE received an email from the high-ranking Trump Campaign official asking about the status of future releases by Organization 1. STONE answered that the head of Organization 1 had a “[s]erious security concern” but that Organization 1 would release “a load every week going forward.”

d. Later that day, on or about October 4, 2016, the supporter involved with the Trump Campaign asked STONE via text message if he had “hear[d] anymore from London.” STONE replied, “Yes - want to talk on a secure line - got Whatsapp?” STONE subsequently told the supporter that more material would be released and that it would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign.

17. On or about October 7, 2016, Organization 1 released the first set of emails stolen from the Clinton Campaign chairman. Shortly after Organization 1’s release, an associate of the highranking Trump Campaign official sent a text message to STONE that read “well done.” In subsequent conversations with senior Trump Campaign officials, STONE claimed credit for having correctly predicted the October 7, 2016 release.

When called to testify before the HPSCI, Stone allegedly made false and misleading statements about his interactions with Wikileaks and about whether he had any records of his contacts with his go-between.

20. On or about September 26, 2017, STONE testified before HPSCI in Washington, D.C. as part of the committee’s ongoing investigation. In his opening statement, STONE stated, “These hearings are largely based on a yet unproven allegation that the Russian state is responsible for the hacking of the DNC and [the Clinton Campaign chairman] and the transfer of that information to [Organization 1].” STONE further stated that “[m]embers of this Committee” had made certain “assertions against me which must be rebutted here today,” which included “[t]he charge that I knew in advance about, and predicted, the hacking of Clinton campaign chairman[’s] email, [and] that I had advanced knowledge of the source or actual content of the [Organization 1] disclosures regarding Hillary Clinton.”

21. In the course of his HPSCI testimony, STONE made deliberately false and misleading statements to the committee concerning, among other things, his possession of documents pertinent to HPSCI’s investigation; the source for his early August 2016 statements about Organization 1; requests he made for information from the head of Organization 1; his communications with his identified intermediary; and his communications with the Trump Campaign about Organization 1.

22. During his HPSCI testimony, STONE was asked, “So you have no emails to anyone concerning the allegations of hacked documents . . . or any discussions you have had with third parties about [the head of Organization 1]? You have no emails, no texts, no documents whatsoever, any kind of that nature?” STONE falsely and misleadingly answered, “That is correct. Not to my knowledge."

When pressed about how he had ascertained that Wikileaks was planning more dumps, Trump offered the HPSCI a misleading statement that minimized the role of "Person 1" - believed to be Jerome Corsi - in ferrying advanced knowledge of Wikileaks' planned dumps to Stone.

28. STONE’s explanation of his August 2016 statements about communicating with the head of Organization 1 was false and misleading. In truth and in fact, the first time Person 2 interviewed the head of Organization 1 was on or about August 25, 2016, after STONE made his August 8 and August 12, 2016 public statements. Similarly, at the time STONE made his August 2016 statements, STONE had directed Person 1—not Person 2—to contact the head of Organization 1. And Person 1—not Person 2—had told STONE in advance of STONE’s August 8 and August 12, 2016 public statements that “[w]ord is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps,” including one in October. At no time did STONE identify Person 1 to HPSCI as another individual STONE contacted to serve as a “go-between,” “intermediary,” or other source of information from Organization 1. STONE also never disclosed his exchanges with Person 1 when answering HPSCI’s questioning about STONE’s August 8 and August 12, 2016 statements.

Stone also reportedly lied to HPSCI about his correspondence with senior Trump campaign officials. The indictment implies that Stone's attempts to obtain the stolen emails from Wikileaks was done at the behest of a campaign official.

35. During his HPSCI testimony, STONE was asked, “did you discuss your conversations with the intermediary with anyone involved in the Trump campaign?” STONE falsely and misleadingly answered, “I did not.” In truth and in fact, and as described above, STONE spoke to multiple individuals involved in the Trump Campaign about what he claimed to have learned from his intermediary to Organization 1, including the following: a. On multiple occasions, STONE told senior Trump Campaign officials about materials possessed by Organization 1 and the timing of future releases. b. On or about October 3, 2016, STONE wrote to a supporter involved with the Trump Campaign, “Spoke to my friend in London last night. The payload is still coming.” c. On or about October 4, 2016, STONE told a high-ranking Trump Campaign official that the head of Organization 1 had a “[s]erious security concern” but would release “a load every week going forward.”

After misleading the committee about his communications with his intermediaries, Stone allegedly tried to convince person 2 (Credico) to either make sure his testimony conformed with Stones, or to just plead the 5th and pretend he didn't know anything.

36. On or about October 19, 2017, STONE sent Person 2 an excerpt of his letter to HPSCI that identified Person 2 as his “intermediary” to Organization 1. STONE urged Person 2, if asked by HPSCI, to falsely confirm what STONE had previously testified to, including that it was Person 2 18 who provided STONE with the basis for STONE’s early August 2016 statements about contact with Organization 1. Person 2 repeatedly told STONE that his testimony was false and told him to correct his testimony to HPSCI. STONE did not do so. STONE then engaged in a prolonged effort to prevent Person 2 from contradicting STONE’s false statements to HPSCI.

37. In or around November 2017, Person 2 received a request from HPSCI to testify voluntarily before the committee. After being contacted by HPSCI, Person 2 spoke and texted repeatedly with STONE. In these discussions, STONE sought to have Person 2 testify falsely either that Person 2 was the identified intermediary or that Person 2 could not remember what he had told STONE. Alternatively, STONE sought to have Person 2 invoke his Fifth Amendment right against selfincrimination. For example:

a. On or about November 19, 2017, in a text message to STONE, Person 2 said that his lawyer wanted to see him (Person 2). STONE responded, “‘Stonewall it. Plead the fifth. Anything to save the plan’ . . . Richard Nixon.” On or about November 20, 2017, Person 2 informed HPSCI that he declined HPSCI’s request for a voluntary interview.

b. On or about November 21, 2017, Person 2 texted STONE, “I wastold that the house committee lawyer told my lawyer that I will be getting a subpoena.” STONE responded, “That was the point at which your lawyers should have told them you would assert your 5th Amendment rights if compelled to appear.”

c. On or about November 28, 2017, Person 2 received a subpoena compelling his testimony before HPSCI. Person 2 informed STONE of the subpoena. d. On or about November 30, 2017, STONE asked Person 1 to write publicly about Person 2. Person 1 responded, “Are you sure you want to make something out of this now? Why not wait to see what [Person 2] does. You may be defending yourself too much—raising new questions that will fuel new inquiries. This may be a time to say less, not more.” STONE responded by telling Person 1 that Person 2 “will take the 5th—but let’s hold a day.”

e. On multiple occasions, including on or about December 1, 2017, STONE told Person 2 that Person 2 should do a “Frank Pentangeli” before HPSCI in order to avoid contradicting STONE’s testimony. Frank Pentangeli is a character in the film The Godfather: Part II, which both STONE and Person 2 had discussed, who testifies before a congressional committee and in that testimony claims not to know critical information that he does in fact know.

f. On or about December 1, 2017, STONE texted Person 2, “And if you turned over anything to the FBI you’re a fool.” Later that day, Person 2 texted STONE, “You need to amend your testimony before I testify on the 15th.” STONE responded, “If you testify you’re a fool. Because of tromp I could never get away with a certain [sic] my Fifth Amendment rights but you can. I guarantee you you are the one who gets indicted for perjury if you’re stupid enough to testify.”

38. On or about December 12, 2017, Person 2 informed HPSCI that he intended to assert his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination if required to appear by subpoena. Person 2 invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege in part to avoid providing evidence that would show STONE’s previous testimony to Congress was false.

Stone served as an official advisor to the Trump campaign shortly after its launch in 2015. He has publicly acknowledged exchanging messages with a hacker known as Guccifer 2.0 that the government has sought to portray as a front for Russian intelligence, and Stone once boasted about his contacts with Wikileaks, even calling its founder, Julian Assange, "my hero."

Meanwhile, NBC News reported that roughly a dozen associates of Stone have been summoned to appear before Mueller's grand jury.

Stone will appear in federal court at 11 am ET.

Read the indictment below:

Stone Indictment 012419 by Zerohedge on Scribd