President Trump’s longtime confidant Roger Stone was convicted on Friday of lying to lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The outspoken Republican operative, 67, was indicted in January as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into whether Russia colluded with the Trump campaign.
Stone was accused of lying to the House Intelligence Committee about his communications with WikiLeaks, as well as encouraging another witness to lie to the FBI.
Jurors began deliberating Thursday after about a week of testimony, including from Trump campaign chief executive Steve Bannon, who said Stone boasted about his ties to WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange and alerted the campaign to pending batches of damaging Democratic emails.
Former Trump campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates also took the witness stand, telling jurors that he had overheard a phone conversation in late July 2016 between Trump and Stone that appeared to be about WikiLeaks — because after the call ended, Trump said that more information would be coming out soon.
Gates, who was also charged separately in the Mueller probe, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and lying to the FBI as part of a plea agreement with the government.
Federal prosecutors said Stone lied in his September 2017 testimony to Congress to protect the Trump campaign from embarrassment.
“Roger Stone knew if this information came out, it would look really bad for his longtime associate Donald Trump, so he lied to the committee,” prosecutor Jonathan Kravis told the jury in federal court in Washington, D.C. “Ladies and gentlemen, Roger Stone is a political strategist. He knows how this is going to look.”
Stone’s lawyer Bruce Rogow said he did nothing deliberately illegal and attacked the government’s case as weak and built on unreliable witnesses.
He said the allegations defied “common sense” because Trump had already been elected president by the time Stone testified to the House Intelligence Committee.
“Why would he make stuff up? Why would he volunteer to testify? Why would Stone produce documents?” Rogow asked.
Stone, the Richard Nixon-obsessed, self-described “dirty trickster,” was found guilty on all seven counts against him — one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of making false statements and one count of witness tampering.
Witness tampering carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while the other counts carry a maximum of five years.
Stone has been out on bail since his arrest.
With Post wires
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