Trump friend Roger Stone pleads not guilty in Russia probe case

The political operative appeared for his arraignment at the federal courthouse in Washington

Roger Stone, a longtime adviser and confidant of President Donald Trump, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges in the Russia investigation after a publicity-filled few days spent torching the probe as politically motivated.

The political operative and self-proclaimed dirty trickster appeared for his arraignment at the federal courthouse in Washington. He faces charges that he lied to lawmakers, engaged in witness tampering and obstructed a congressional investigation into possible co-ordination between Russia and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Stone made no public statements as he arrived for the hearing in a black SUV. He waved to a small crowd of supporters chanting that he did nothing wrong and holding up glowing photos of him. And he largely ignored a group of protesters yelling “Lock him up” and carrying signs reading “dirty traitor.”

Stone was arrested early Friday at his Florida home. He appeared in federal court in Washington amid new signals about special counsel Robert Mueller probe’s endgame. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said Monday that the investigation is “close to being completed,” although an exact timetable is unclear.

Mueller’s continued interest in hearing from Stone aide Andrew Miller, who is fighting the grand jury subpoena, indicates the special counsel could be pursuing additional criminal charges against Stone or others related to WikiLeaks’ release of hacked material during the 2016 election.

A self-described dirty trickster, Stone is the sixth Trump aide charged in Mueller’s investigation. The indictment does not accuse Stone of co-ordinating with Russia or with WikiLeaks on the release of hacked Democratic emails. But it does allege that he misled lawmakers about his pursuit of those communications and interest in them. The anti-secrecy website published emails in the weeks before the 2016 presidential election that the U.S. says were stolen from Democrats by Russian operatives.

Stone, who has alleged without evidence that the FBI used “Gestapo tactics” in arresting him, said he did nothing more than exercise his First Amendment rights to drum up interest with voters about the WikiLeaks disclosures. He said he never discussed the issue with Trump.

“That’s what I engaged in. It’s called politics and they haven’t criminalized it, at least not yet,” Stone said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

“All I did was take publicly available information and try to hype it to get it as much attention as possible, because I had a tip, the information was politically significant and that it would come in October,” he added.

Tuesday’s arraignment could inspire the same circus-like atmosphere that surrounded his Friday court appearance in Florida, where Stone emerged from the building in a blue polo shirt, flashed a Richard Nixon victory sign, predicted his vindication and vowed that he would not “bear false witness against the president, nor will I make up lies to ease the pressure on myself.”

It’s unclear whether Mueller’s prosecutors will look to have Stone locked up pending trial or whether they will simply recommend conditions that would allow him to remain free on bond. It’s also possible that U.S. Magistrate Deborah Robinson might impose a gag order to prevent Stone from discussing the case.

___

Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.

Eric Tucker And Chad Day, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Chinese Culture to light up 2019 Victoria Day Parade

Groups hopes Greater Victorians ‘view the culture, embrace the friendship’

Struggling Victoria adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Royal and McPherson Society pleads its case to Victoria council

‘Dark days’ at Royal, user groups’ weekend priorities make scheduling other entertainment challenging

Uplands Park champion to earn provincial award

B.C. Community Award for Margaret Lidkea coincides with Sunday’s volunteer celebration

Oak Bay Sgt. struggles through emotional testimony in double murder trial

Andrew Berry is charged with second-degree murder in deaths of daughters Chloe (6) and Aubrey (4)

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Island-born Snowbirds pilot enjoying homecoming in skies over Comox

Logan Reid once stood clinging onto the fence outside the Comox Air… Continue reading

Attack on student in Courtenay ‘way more than bullying’, says mom

A Comox Valley mother said “it was way more than bullying” at… Continue reading

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

Most Read