Trump Associate And Confidante Roger Stone Convicted

One of Donald Trump''s closest associates has been convicted by a Federal jury.

Roger Stone, who has been a close associate and confidante of President Trump for decades and who was long believed to be the Trump campaign’s primary link to Wikileaks during the 2016 campaign for President, has been convicted on seven counts of lying about his role in the campaign to Congress and other Federal officials:

A federal jury has convicted longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone of lying to Congress and tampering with a witness about his efforts to learn about the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks release of hacked Democratic emails in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The panel of nine women and three men deliberated for less than two days before finding Stone, 67, guilty on all seven counts resulting from his September 2017 testimony to a House intelligence committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Kremlin’s efforts to damage Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Stone, in a blue suit, stood at the defense table with his left hand in his pants pocket, watching impassively as the verdicts were read. He sighed and frowned as he left the courtroom, offering a half-smile to reporters who had covered the proceedings while his wife hugged crying supporters.

(…)

In arguments and testimony over the past two weeks, prosecutors revealed a series of phone calls at critical times in 2016 between Stone, Trump and some of the highest-ranking officials on the Trump campaign — Stephen K. Bannon, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.

Gates and Bannon took the witness stand, describing how the campaign viewed Stone as a sort-of conduit to WikiLeaks who claimed — even before the Russian hacking was known — to have insider information. Gates testified to overhearing a phone call in which Trump seemed to discuss WikiLeaks with Stone, calling into question the president’s assertion to Mueller’s office that he did not recall discussing the organization with his longtime friend.

Prosecutors buttressed the witness testimony with call and message records, which they said helped show Stone’s claims to the House Intelligence Committee were false.

In hopes of keeping himself out of prison, Stone’s defense team urged jurors to treat his case as a referendum not on him but on Mueller’s entire Russia investigation.

Stone’s lawyers conceded that a raft of emails, texts and extensive other documentation showed Stone claiming inside information on WikiLeaks’ releases and wanting to get even more that could be relayed to the Trump campaign. But in its closing, the defense urged jurors to reframe the question from whether Stone lied to whether that issue mattered, asserting that his hectic efforts to get information from WikiLeaks never amounted to anything.

“So much of this case deals with that question that you need to ask . . . so what?” Rogow asked.

Stone’s defense repeated his position that there was “no collusion” with Russia on the presidential race and thus any of Stone’s misstatements, as his lawyers cast them, about his WikiLeaks pursuits were inconsequential. They portrayed their client as hapless and merely engaging in his usual political chicanery.

“There was nothing illegal about the campaign being interested in information that WikiLeaks was going to be sending out,” Rogow said.

Stone’s conviction is the last major act of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and the question of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. While it does not in and of itself provide a smoking gun link in that investigation, it does tend to establish that there was coordination of some kind between the Trump campaign and Wikileaks, which was the primary means by which the email and other material that was uncovered by hackers linked to Russia was made public. In fact, both the Mueller report and the evidence adduced at the Stone trial established what can only be called a remarkable level of coinciding rhetoric from the Trump campaign that seemed to anticipate that new Wikileaks document dumps would be coming during the course of the 2016 campaign. Additionally, there is at least circumstantial evidence to establish that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was well aware of the fact that the source of the email and other documents that his organization was dumping into the public domain were coming from the Russians. While this does not establish a direct connection between Russia and the Trump campaign, it does raise questions that were not completely answered by the Mueller Report.

In any case, Stone has been allowed to go free until his sentencing in February, which is not unusual for non-violent felons who have otherwise indicated that there are reasons to deny them bail. In theory, the relevant sentencing guidelines provide that the maximum sentence could send Stone to jail for decades. In reality, given the fact that he does not have a prior criminal record, it’s likely that Stone will get something less than that. Nonetheless, the record will show that this is the sixth person with ties to the President to either plead guilty or be convicted of a crime. The others include:

  • George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser who pled guilty to lying to federal investigators;
  • Paul Manafort, who both pled guilty and was convicted of charges related to his lobbying activities on behalf of foreign nations;
  • Rick Gates, a former associate of Manafort’s who pled guilty in connection; and, of course,
  • Michael Flynn, who pled guilty in connection with a variety of charges related to his representation of foreign interests as a lobbyist;
  • Michael Cohen, the President’s longtime attorney and fixer who pled guilty to a number of crimes including engaging in a conspiracy with the President to buy the silence of two women that Trump had affairs with in order to

And now Roger Stone.

For an investigation that the President has repeatedly dismissed as a witch hunt that’s a lot of witches.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Donald Trump, Impeachment, Law and the Courts, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Hal_10000 says:

    The amusing thing — if you want to call it that — is that many of Trump’s defenders are going for the, “Well, Trump wasn’t actually involved in any of these crimes; these are all process crimes” defense. Such a strange coincidence that everyone Trump works with turns out to be a crook. How odd.

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  2. Jay L Gischer says:

    Well, you didn’t include Flynn in your list. He also pled guilty, didn’t he?

    It’s breathtaking, really. At the outset, I did not expect to see all these convictions. I never thought I’d see Roger Stone go to jail. Apparently he’s kind of a dumbass who only pretended to be that silky smooth operator that could never be caught.

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  3. @Jay L Gischer:

    You’re right….updating

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  4. mattbernius says:

    @Hal_10000:
    Yeah, it’s much like how despite having chosen all of the failed agency heads, Trump had nothing to do with their failures.

    BTW, for extra points, bring up the fact that Roger Stone said repeatedly in private conversations that were found during the investigation that Russia was the original source of the Wikileaks hack.

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  5. mattbernius says:

    Aside – I am surprised that they convicted on all 7 counts. It sounded like the jury wasn’t sure about one count yesterday. Still it’s a pleasure to see all the people who continue to reap the whirlwind around this administration.

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  6. wr says:

    @Hal_10000: Apparently today (on CNN, I believe) that noted paragon of justice Ken Starr complained about how terrible it was that Stone was convicted for a “process crime” like lying to congress.

    Someone wake me up if they find a Republican who isn’t a complete whore.

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  7. wr says:

    @wr: My bad — he was on Fox, and I learned about it here: http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/11/i-swear-i-want-to-rage-quit-this-show.

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  8. Jay L Gischer says:

    @wr: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to endure people saying, “I just want to see the law enforced”, on a multitude of issues.

    Yeah. That’s what I want, too.

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  9. Moosebreath says:

    @Hal_10000:

    “Such a strange coincidence that everyone Trump works with turns out to be a crook.”

    Trump hires only the best people.

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  10. de stijl says:

    @wr:

    Ken Starr complaining about process crimes. That’s ballsy!

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  11. de stijl says:

    The Conspiracy Of Dunces.

    Rs, this is frankly embarrassing. So lame! If this is your A team, your B team is Andy Dick and some guys he met at the after party all on a parano crank search.

    Rank incompetence. I thought you guys had pride in your ratf*cking. This is pitiful. It’s sad.

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  12. gVOR08 says:

    it does tend to establish that there was coordination of some kind between the Trump campaign and Wikileaks, which was the primary means by which the email and other material that was uncovered by hackers linked to Russia was made public.

    Sounds an awful lot like collusion. I still think the Ds are missing a bet by not driving a truck through the loose definition of “collusion”.

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  13. gVOR08 says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Apparently he’s kind of a dumbass who only pretended to be that silky smooth operator that could never be caught.

    Somebody observed a few days ago that Stone’s always been an ass operating at the edge of the law or beyond, but it’s only with Trump he made himself important enough for anyone to go after him. ETTD.

    There were supposed to be twelve open prosecutions when Mueller packed it in. Has anyone been keeping count? Is this all, or did Barr squelch a few?

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  14. Kathy says:

    I’ve little doubt that if Clinton had won the election, Trump would be Twitting about the terrible prison food he has to eat.

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  15. CSK says:

    Latest Cult45 excuses for Trump:
    1. Trump isn’t a politician, so he doesn’t know he’s surrounded by evil Obama flunkies.
    2. The reason Bill Barr hasn’t prosecuted Hillary Clinton, Comey, et alia is that Barr is a member of the Deep State.

    I swear I did not make this up.

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  16. Gustopher says:

    Hmm. When is sentencing? I might want to take a vacation to go stand outside and shout “Lock him up!” when he arrives.

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  17. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “When is sentencing”

    Feb 6.

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  18. CSK says:

    @Gustopher: Feb. 6, 2020.

    ReplyReply
  19. de stijl says:

    One of the tidbits that is fascinating is that Jerome Corsi was deemed unfit to be prosecuted. Not innocent, mind you, but too addled to mount a defense.

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  20. Hal_10000 says:

    @wr:

    Someone wake me up if they find a Republican who isn’t a complete whore.

    That’s an outrageous slander, comparing whores to Republicans.

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  21. Moosebreath says:

    @Hal_10000:

    “That’s an outrageous slander, comparing whores to Republicans.”

    True, when one is with a whore, one enjoys the experience.

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  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson:

    Could someone please list the exact alleged “lies” that prosecutors prosecuted Roger Stone for? Preferably, in quotations. I just don’t get it.

    Pull your head out of your ass and start reading actual news. It’s not our job to educate you.

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  23. de stijl says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson:
    @Michael Reynolds:

    At least MCE provides Heath Ledger era
    Joker style sexy chaotic nihilism. This ratf*cking was supposed to be their strong suit. And Stone was the supposed master.

    Instead it’s Mr. Magoo has lost his glasses. Again.

    Massively underwhelming.

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  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    Trump and his whole crew are just so fking stupid. It tells you how stupid a person has to be to fall for this pitiful, amateur-level bullshit.

    ReplyReply
  25. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You are demeaning amateurs. These guys are busters.

    I did enjoy MCE’s retro astrology riff. I don’t mean to encourage it; it’s rank foolishness. Inadvertently amusing.

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  26. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You know, it strikes me that a little bit of critical thinking can spare the expenditure of a lot fo effort at rationalization, obfuscation, and self-deception.

    This leads me to suppose that wither 1) critical thinking is painful for some people, or 2) the truth really hurts really bad.

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  27. An Interested Party says:

    It’s pretty sad when a group of people think they are like SPECTRE or THRUSH but are more like KAOS or Dr. Evil…actually, even Mike Myers could come up with better schemes than these people…

    Meanwhile, even after all of this, can someone explain why anyone, anyone at all would continue to support this president…

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  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: I had to go back to read the post because of your comment. Strong non-sequitur feel to that part. Sort of like her train of thought derailed.

    @An Interested Party: Because supporting him makes you upset? Just a thought…

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  29. Mikey says:

    @CSK:

    The reason Bill Barr hasn’t prosecuted Hillary Clinton, Comey, et alia is that Barr is a member of the Deep State.

    Wow, that’s amazing. I mean, Barr is solely responsible for distorting the findings of the Mueller report so severely that most Americans believe it concluded the opposite of what it actually concluded. He’s the single most important figure in keeping Trump’s ass out of the fire (for now).

    Also, just this week a federal judge again told the government to shit or get off the pot regarding Andrew McCabe. They’re hiding whatever the grand jury did, meaning it probably no-billed him, and in the process holding him in a terrible state of limbo regarding his eventual fate. The latter is simply cruel, but as writer Adam Serwer has noted, the cruelty is the point.

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  30. An Interested Party says:

    Because supporting him makes you upset? Just a thought…

    We live in a world with multiple problems…from the damage that climate change is causing and will continue to cause this planet to the global problem of food and water security…wars, famine, severe income inequality and so much else…and the most important thing about the president of the United States is how hard he can stick it to the libs…makes you proud to be an American, doesn’t it…

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  31. Jax says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson: Everybody else is giving you shit, but I think you really tried, here, that wasn’t a cut and paste, you’ve figured out how to just type and make sentences that cover the whole box.

    Start here. There’s a lot of work to do. https://www.govinfo.gov/features/pocket-constitution

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  32. Jax says:

    @Michael Reynolds: If I was going to write a play meant for high school kids to perform, it would be “The Trump Era”. It’s got EVERYTHING. The dumb criminal, the cops on the take and the cops trying to bust him, the floozies, the out of control kids…..I mean, this ain’t no Godfather-level shit, it’s a high school play.

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  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @An Interested Party: To paraphrase another famous American, I haven’t been proud to be an American for quite some time now.

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  34. Kit says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson:

    Could someone please list the exact alleged “lies” that prosecutors prosecuted Roger Stone for? Preferably, in quotations. I just don’t get it.

    This article in The New Yorker should get you started.

    The lies for which Stone was convicted reveal his longing to be involved in the Trump campaign more than any real connection he might have had to it. He was asked by the House Intelligence Committee whether he had any e-mails regarding the hacked documents released by WikiLeaks. “Not to my knowledge,” he answered. In fact, he had exchanged dozens, if not hundreds, of e-mails about WikiLeaks, many with Randy Credico, an eccentric radio host and comedian in New York. Those e-mails showed Stone puffing about his connections to the group—which he exaggerated significantly. Still, his lie about the e-mails doomed him in court. Another lie involved his denial that he had tried to get more information from WikiLeaks. Clearly, Stone did try—but he failed to get the information he sought.

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  35. grumpy realist says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson: Did you even check the news? Or has dope addled your brain to the point that you can’t even use Google properly?

    Come to think of it, I shouldn’t blame dope for your lack of intelligence. Your use of astrology indicates that it’s well baked in. (You do realise that the stars aren’t where you think they are because of the finite speed of light, right? And the procession of the equinoxes means that your astrological houses aren’t where you think they are, either?)

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  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: You bring up an interesting point. While I don’t read her missives here, I have visited her run for office website and find her stance here confusing. Her site presents a person who is very much as idealistic about the purpose of government and the role of the people serving in it as I was until my native cynicism compelled me to limit my participation to observation from the grandstands near where the clown car enters the main ring (so that I can see some of the action preparing for the entrance).

    I would not have expected a person such as she portrays on her site to be willing to defend a person so obviously unfit for office, venal, corrupt, rent-seeking, self-serving, and genuinely evil as Mr. Trump presents to be (and has presented from the day he came down the escalator in 2015). This creates a conundrum to me. I’m left to conclude that either
    1) she is auditioning for a position in the Trump administration (in which case she may need a larger more sympathetic forum 🙂 )
    2) she is ignorant and unteachable to an extent that I have never seen before during 25 years as a teacher except in the cases of profoundly disabled and limited students (of the sort who required the constant care of an aid who operated their power wheel chair for them as they attended school semi-comatose)
    3) she has ineffectually unreasonable sympathy for and misunderstanding of the role of underdog to the extent that she is willing to grant that status to Trump and support him reflexively (as well as unreasonably and foolishly)
    or 4) she is a troll of the last order (I would say first order save for her absolutely amazing incompetence at trolling; she brings all of the verve of our late lamented Jenos, Super Destroyer, J.A. Phillips, ,James Pearce, and such with none of the skill set at all).

    In any event, I will close by urging the good people of whatever state she’s running in (I honestly have forgotten which one) to keep up the good work at staying away from her at the polls. She is obviously incompetent and giving a bad name to honorable crank conspiracy-theory candidates such as the late, lamented Lyndon LaRouche and Gus Hall.

    ReplyReply

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