Roger Stone, a longtime friend and adviser to Donald Trump, proclaimed his innocence Friday of federal charges filed in a Florida courtroom earlier in the day. He was charged by special counsel Robert Mueller with seven counts, including obstruction of justice, making false statements and witness tampering, in Mueller’s ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Following his early morning arrest at his home in Fort Lauderdale and formal indictment in court, Stone posted a $250,000 bond and emerged from federal district court to begin making his case in public.
“I am innocent,” Stone told Alex Jones, the host of InfoWars, the conspiracy theory website on which Stone is a frequent guest. With dozens of reporters gathered outside the court building awaiting a statement, Stone proclaimed that the charges against him were “politically motivated” and that he had been “framed” by Mueller’s prosecutors. “The whole Russia investigation is a distraction from the real crimes of the Clintons and the Obamas,” Stone said.
When he emerged from the courthouse, Stone, wearing jeans and a blue polo shirt, was met with a mixture of boos and cheers from the large crowd waiting for him outside. He raised his arms in the V-for-victory pose made famous by his original political mentor, Richard Nixon — including on the day Nixon left the White House after his resignation.
“As I have long said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about,” Stone said.
Calling the Mueller investigation a “two-year inquisition,” Stone insisted that “the charges relate in no way to Russian collusion, WikiLeaks collaboration or any other illegal act in connection with the 2016 campaign.”
In the indictment of Stone, however, Mueller’s team alleges that a top Trump campaign official directed Stone to contact WikiLeaks regarding the hack and release of thousands of Democratic emails.
Stone directly rebutted that claim Friday. “That is incorrect,” he said.
Asked point blank whether he, in any way, worked with the Russians to help the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, Stone was adamant.
“Categorically not, no. Absolutely not,” Stone said.
Repeating many of the same denials made to Jones, Stone also vowed that he would never, unlike the president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, testify against Trump.
“There is no circumstance, whatsoever, under which I will bear false witness against the president,” Stone said, adding, “I will not testify against the president.”
Trump appeared to reference Stone’s arrest and indictment in an early morning tweet.
Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country! NO COLLUSION! Border Coyotes, Drug Dealers and Human Traffickers are treated better. Who alerted CNN to be there?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2019
Stone said he is “preparing” for his next scheduled court appearance next week in Washington.
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