Roger Stone, longtime Republican operative and former Trump campaign associate, was found guilty on all counts Friday by a jury in Washington, D.C., federal court.
Stone faced seven charges, including five counts of lying to Congress about communications pertaining to WikiLeaks, one count of obstructing a congressional investigation into Russian election interference, and one count of witness tampering in the trial, which stemmed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Trump-Russia collusion.
What were the arguments?
The prosecution argued that Stone knowingly lied about his back-channel efforts to get information about WikiLeaks’ possession and release of hacked Democratic emails, and that he did so in order to protect Trump’s campaign.
According to a Fox News report on the verdict, Stone’s defense argued that Trump’s campaign did nothing wrong and thus that there was nothing to hide.
“The defense also insisted that Stone did not falsely deny having records related to the House investigation, because the investigation was about Russia, not WikiLeaks,” the report stated.
USA Today reported that prosecutors provided jurors five government witnesses and dozens of emails and text messages that they argued proved Stone lied, while Stone’s defense attorneys did not call any witnesses and Stone himself did not testify.
“Instead,” the report said, “defense attorneys sought to poke holes in the government’s case by casting the emails and text messages as statements that, while at times crude, lacked any ‘malignant’ context.”
Prosecutors also said that Stone tried to silence a witness using a line from “The Godfather: Part II” urging the witness via email to “do a Frank Pentangeli” — Pentangeli is a character who lied to Congress in the movie to avoid incriminating his Mafia boss, Michael Corleone.
Stone joins other Trump allies
Stone is the latest Trump ally to be indicted or convicted — six in total — as a result of the Mueller investigation, most having to do with making false statements to investigators.
Paul Manafort, a former chairman of Trump’s campaign, is currently serving more than seven years in prison for conspiracy to defraud.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, is now serving a three-year federal prison sentence for campaign finance violations, among other crimes.
Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to making false statements to investigators.
Finally, George Papadopoulos served a 14-day prison sentence after admitting he lied to investigators during the probe.
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