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Roger Stone, Political Operative And Trump Aide, Guilty In False Statements Trial

Roger Stone, his wife Nydia, left, and daughter Adria left federal court in Washington on Nov. 8, 2019. after his trial ended for the day.
Image credit: Susan Walsh

Roger Stone, a veteran Republican political operative and longtime confidant of Donald Trump, was found guilty by a federal jury in Washington, D.C. on Friday in his false statements and obstruction trial.

The verdict, announced after two days of deliberations by the jury, adds another chapter to Stone’s long and colorful history as a self-described dirty trickster.

It also means Stone, who is 67, likely faces prison time, even as a first-time offender. Stone stood as the verdict was read on all seven counts in this case but did not speak.

Stone was arrested in January at his home in Florida on charges brought by former special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the Russia investigation.

Stone pleaded not guilty to making false statements, obstruction and witness tampering. He did not take the stand during the trial.

Prosecutors’ case

In the indictment, Stone was accused of lying to the House Intelligence Committee about his efforts to discover what WikiLeaks planned to do with thousands of hacked Democratic emails it had in its possession. The House committee was conducting its own investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

WikiLeaks ultimately did release the emails during the campaign, which became a major talking point of the election that Donald Trump went on to win.

During the six-day trial, the government presented emails and text messages to try to prove its case that Stone lied to Congress to hide his efforts to contact WikiLeaks — including by telling lawmakers that he had no records concerning hacked emails or the anti-secrecy group.

Stone’s defense lawyers argued that Stone didn’t intend to lie to the committee. They also claimed that the investigation against him was misguided and that Stone was being targeted for political reasons.

Stone was the second close political adviser of Trump’s brought to trial on charges by Mueller’s team.

The other was Stone’s former business partner, Paul Manafort, who was convicted in 2018 in a tax and bank fraud trial in Virginia. Manafort later pleaded guilty to other charges in a related case brought by Mueller in Washington, D.C. He is now in prison.

Six others — including Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to charges that arose from the special counsel’s probe.

Mueller’s office also brought charges against more than two dozen Russian nationals and three Russian entities.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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