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Roger Stone Guilty on 7 Counts         11/16 09:32

   Roger Stone was convicted Friday of all seven counts in a federal indictment 
that accused him of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing 
the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia 
to tip the 2016 election.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- He was proud of his reputation as a practitioner of 
political dirty tricks and frequently boasted about the extent of his contacts 
and the depth of his insider information.

   Now Roger Stone, a longtime friend and ally of President Donald Trump, faces 
a prison sentence for a collection of crimes that essentially amounts to 
exaggerating how much he knew, then lying and scrambling to keep those boasts 
from being exposed.

   Stone was convicted Friday of all seven counts in a federal indictment that 
accused him of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the 
House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to 
tip the 2016 election.

   He is the sixth Trump aide or adviser to be convicted of charges brought as 
part of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

   Stone has denied wrongdoing and consistently criticized the case against him 
as politically motivated. He did not take the stand during the trial and his 
lawyers did not call any witnesses in his defense.

   The Stone case could be the last public gasp of the Mueller investigation, 
which wrapped up in March. Mueller made clear that his team never considered 
indicting Trump because the Justice Department prohibits the prosecution of a 
sitting president.

   The evidence presented in the trial didn't directly address Mueller's 
conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to prove a criminal conspiracy 
between the Trump campaign and Russia to tip the outcome of the 2016 
presidential election in Trump's favor. But it provided new insight into the 
scramble inside the Trump campaign when it was revealed in July 2016 that the 
anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks was in possession of more than 19,000 emails hacked 
from the servers of the Democratic National Committee.

   Witnesses highlighted how Trump campaign associates were eager to gather 
information about the emails, which the U.S. says were hacked by Russia and 
then provided to WikiLeaks. Steve Bannon, who served as the campaign's chief 
executive, testified during the trial that Stone had boasted about his ties to 
WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, alerting them to pending new batches 
of damaging emails. Campaign officials saw Stone as the "access point" to 
WikiLeaks, he said.

   Stone, 67, showed no visible reaction as the verdict was read aloud, count 
by count. He's scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 6 and could face up to 20 
years behind bars. Another former Trump campaign aide, Michael Caputo, was 
removed from the courtroom by security officers after he turned his back on the 
jury after the verdict was read.

   Stone smirked at reporters as he left the courtroom, holding hands with his 
wife. As he walked out of the courthouse, Stone was asked if he had any comment 
on the verdict and replied: "none whatsoever" before he hopped into a waiting 
SUV with his wife.

   Trump tweeted minutes after the verdict, calling the conviction "a double 
standard like never seen before in the history of our Country," because his 
frequent nemeses, including Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey 
and "including even Mueller himself," have not been convicted. "Didn't they 
lie?"

   After the verdict was read, prosecutors asked for Stone to be jailed as he 
awaits sentencing. But Jackson ruled that Stone would be released to this own 
recognizance but would be subject to the same blanket gag order that was 
imposed during the trial, banning him from discussing the case with media or 
posting about it on social media.

   Prosecutors used Stone's own text messages and emails --- many of which 
appeared to contradict his congressional testimony --- to lay out their case.

   Prosecutors alleged Stone lied to Congress about his conversations about 
WikiLeaks with New York radio host and comedian Randy Credico --- who scored an 
interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2016, when he was avoiding 
prosecution by sheltering in the Ecuadoran embassy in London - and conservative 
writer and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi.

   During the 2016 campaign, Stone had mentioned in interviews and public 
appearances that he was in contact with Assange through a trusted intermediary 
and hinted at inside knowledge of WikiLeaks' plans. But he started pressing 
Credico to broker a contact, and Credico testified that he told Stone to work 
through his own intermediary.

   Earlier testimony revealed that Stone, while appearing before the House 
Intelligence Committee, named Credico as his intermediary to Assange and 
pressured Credico not to contradict him.

   After Credico was contacted by Congress, he reached out to Stone, who told 
him he should "stonewall it" and "plead the fifth," he testified. Credico also 
testified during Stone's trial that Stone repeatedly told him to "do a ?Frank 
Pentangeli,'" a reference to a character in "The Godfather: Part II" who lies 
before Congress.

   Prosecutors said Stone had also threatened Credico's therapy dog, Bianca, 
saying he was "going to take that dog away from you."


(KR)

 
 
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