by Griffin Connolly · November 15, 2019
Roger Stone, a longtime Republican political operative and confidant of President Donald Trump, was convicted Friday for lying to Congress, obstructing an official proceeding and witness tampering.
Stone was found guilty on all seven charges he faced from a January indictment stemming from former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Stone worked for Trump’s campaign in 2015 and served as an unofficial adviser in 2016, when he began communicating — or trying to communicate — with WikiLeaks through a back channel source and feeding information about hacked Democratic emails to the Trump campaign, documents from the trial showed.
Trump reacted to the verdict on Twitter, calling it a double standard that is biased against Republicans.
“Well, what about Crooked Hillary, Comey, Strzok, Page, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Shifty Schiff, Ohr & Nellie, Steele & all of the others, including even Mueller himself?” he wrote in a post around 12:15 p.m.
At a September 2017 deposition before the House Intelligence Committee, Stone lied to lawmakers five times, the jury found, about who his back channel source to WikiLeaks was, the nature of their communications, and whether Stone had communicated what he knew about the hacked Democratic emails with the Trump campaign.
Stone later intimidated radio host and comedian Randy Credico, whom Stone falsely identified as his Wikileaks source, into not testifying before the committee.
The five instances of lying and Stone’s intimidation of Credico led to the most serious charge of obstructing a congressional proceeding.
Stone faces up to 20 years in prison. He will be sentenced at a later date.
Stone was the last person to be indicted by Mueller’s special counsel team. Trump routinely dismissed Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference as a “witch hunt” and “hoax.”
Prosecutors argued in their closing statement on Wednesday that Stone’s alleged lies to the House Intelligence Committee on Sept. 26, 2017, obstructed the congressional panel’s separate probe into Russian election interference and led lawmakers to issue incorrect conclusions. The jury in a federal courthouse sitting several blocks from the Capitol ultimately agreed.
In its final report, the Intelligence Committee concluded there was “no evidence” Stone had any advanced knowledge about WikiLeaks’ releases of hacked Democratic emails.
Prosecutors argued that conclusion was based on Stone’s repeated lies, which prevented the committee from obtaining that evidence.
While Stone’s lawyers claimed their client had no motive to lie in 2017 since Trump was already president, prosecutors said Stone knew it would harm Trump’s political standing if it came out that an informal adviser to his campaign, who communicated frequently with Trump himself, had been in touch through a conduit with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whom intelligence officials have said received the hacked Democratic emails from Russia.
“The truth looked bad for the Trump campaign and the truth looked bad for Mr. Trump,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Kravis said. Therefore, he added, “Stone lied.”
John. T. Bennett contributed to this report.