Trump Confidant Roger Stone Pleads Not Guilty

January 29, 2019 - 11:11 am
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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's longtime friend Roger Stone has pleaded not guilty to charges in the special counsel's Russia investigation. 

Stone appeared for his arraignment at the federal courthouse in Washington after spending the weekend blasting special counsel Robert Mueller's case against him as politically motivated. 

The self-proclaimed dirty trickster was arrested last week during a pre-dawn raid at his Florida home. He is charged in a seven-count indictment with obstruction, lying to Congress and witness tampering. Prosecutors say he lied about the contents of his discussions with the Trump campaign involving WikiLeaks and hacked material damaging to Hillary Clinton that the anti-secrecy group released during the 2016 campaign. 
 
Stone is also accused of corruptly influencing the testimony of another witness.

Though most defendants facing charges tend to stay quiet for fear of inflaming prosecutors or a judge, Stone has opted for a different tack since his arrest Friday.

Stone staged an impromptu news conference outside a Florida courthouse, made the rounds on weekend television and repeatedly mocked the probe on an Instagram account, including with a cartoonish-image of Mueller as a bowtie-wearing butler holding a tray with a hamburger roll — but no meat in between.

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.

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.

(© 2019 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report)