Did not close the door on cooperating with Mueller’s office in some way…
(Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times) WASHINGTON — Roger Stone, a longtime political adviser to President Donald Trump, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony charges brought by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Stone’s lawyer, Robert Buschel, entered the plea. The normally talkative Stone said little during the arraignment except “yes, your honor” to acknowledge instructions from the judge. Another hearing is scheduled for Friday.
Prosecutors have accused Stone, 66, of lying to Congress about his conversations involving WikiLeaks and hacked Democratic Party emails, and they said he tried to persuade another witness to provide false testimony.
Stone was arrested in an over-the-top FBI raid early Friday at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and later released on a $250,000 bond. He has denied breaking any laws and accused Mueller of conducting a political prosecution.
A Republican operative who has spent decades embracing his reputation as a dirty trickster, Stone has given multiple interviews since his arrest criticizing the Russia investigation and the pre-dawn police raid on his home.
On Monday, he complained to reporters that law enforcement decided to “storm my house” and “terrorize my wife and my dogs.”
And on Sunday, he told ABC News that the indictment against him is “thin as piss on a rock, so I’m prepared to fight for my life.”
Stone has repeatedly vowed not to “bear false witness” against Trump, but he didn’t close the door on cooperating with Mueller’s office in some way.
“I have to determine after my attorneys have some discussion,” he said. “If there’s wrongdoing by other people in the campaign that I know about, which I know of none, but if there is I would certainly testify honestly.”
Stone was charged with one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements and one count of witness tampering.
According to the 24-page indictment, a Trump official reached out to Stone during the campaign to learn WikiLeaks’ plans for releasing thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
U.S. intelligence officials later determined that a team of Russian military intelligence officers had hacked the trove of emails and funneled them to WikiLeaks.
Stone allegedly tried to find out more information through an intermediary, far-right writer Jerome Corsi, and updated people in Trump’s orbit.
At one point, the indictment said, he told a supporter that “the payload is still coming” days before WikiLeaks began releasing emails stolen from the account of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman.
Stone lied about those conversations when he testified to the House Intelligence Committee, the indictment charged.
He also allegedly tried to persuade an associate, radio show host Randy Credico, to provide false testimony to Mueller’s team, the indictment charged.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, declined to say Monday whether Trump would consider granting Stone a pardon.
“I’m not going to talk about hypotheticals that are just ridiculous,” she said.
Sanders also said “the president did nothing wrong throughout this process.”
“The further we get into the process, the more and more we see this has nothing to do with President Trump,” she said.
©2019 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Liberty Headlines editor Paul Chesser contributed.