Trump adviser Roger Stone is charged with lying about WikiLeaks and contacts with Trump campaign
Roger Stone. Cornelius O’Donoghue / Shutterstock
Updated: Political consultant Roger Stone, an adviser to President Donald Trump, is accused in an indictment of making false statements to a House committee and trying to persuade a witness to provide false testimony to obstruct investigations of Russian influence in the election.
The indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office says Stone made false statements about his interactions regarding WikiLeaks’ release of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. Stone was arrested at his home in Florida early Friday, report the New York Times, USA Today and the Washington Post.
According to the indictment, Stone contacted WikiLeaks through an intermediary about upcoming releases of hacked documents. He is also accused of keeping senior Trump campaign officials informed of his work.
The indictment doesn’t name WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange by name, but its references to them are clear, USA Today says.
The indictment alleges Stone made false and misleading statements to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence about his contacts with the intermediary and with the campaign. He is also accused of falsely denying that he had relevant documents.
Stone had falsely told the committee that a radio commentator was the intermediary, according to the indictment. Then, after his testimony, Stone allegedly contacted the commentator, identified as Person 2, and urged him to confirm his false account. The Washington Post and USA Today say Person 2 appears to be Randy Credico.
The indictment says Stone urged Person 2 to do a “Frank Pentangeli,” a reference to a Godfather character who claimed at a congressional hearing to know nothing about his career in the Mafia.
The charges are one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of making false statements and one count of witness tampering.
According to the indictment, Stone told senior Trump campaign officials in June and July 2016 that he had learned WikiLeaks had documents that would be damaging to the Clinton campaign.
After WikiLeaks released hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee on July 22, a senior Trump campaign official “was directed to contact Stone” about any additional releases and any other damaging information, the indictment says.
The indictment does not state who directed the senior campaign official to contact Stone. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not specifically answer a question from CNN about whether the person giving the direction was Trump, according to the Times. But she did say that the charges “have nothing to do with the president.”
Three days later, the indictment alleges, Stone instructed a political commentator, identified as “Person 1,” to contact WikiLeaks head Julian Assange and to get him emails expected to contain damaging information about the Clinton Foundation. Person 1 later told Stone that Assange planned two more document dumps.
Stone first began texting and emailing Person 2 about WikiLeaks’ plans in August 2016, the indictment says.
After WikiLeaks released hacked emails from the chairman of the Clinton campaign on Oct. 7, Stone received a text from a high-ranking Trump campaign official that said, “Well done,” according to the indictment.
Stone’s lawyer, Grant Smith, said the charges are ridiculous, according to the New York Times.
Stone was released on $250,000 bond after a court hearing Friday. He told reporters outside the courthouse that he will defeat the charges, report the Washington Post and Law.com.
Stone said he has told the truth, and the case against him is politically motivated. He also said he won’t testify against Trump.
“There is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the president, nor will I make up lies to ease the pressure on myself. I look forward to being fully and completely vindicated,” he said.
Updated at 3:15 p.m. to include Stone’s comments to reporters.