Roger Stone was arrested Friday morning on charges stemming from special counsel Robert Muellers’ Russia investigation.
Stone is charged in a seven-count indictment with what are called “process” crimes – that is, crimes that have nothing to do with crimes under investigation but were allegedly committed during the process of the investigation.
Stone is charged with witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his interactions related to the release by WikiLeaks of allegedly hacked emails during the 2016 presidential election. Some of those alleged false statements were made to the House Intelligence Committee, according to the indictment.
Stone is not charged with colluding or coordinating with the Russian government’s election interference in 2016, the key matter under investigation in the Mueller probe.
In the 19 months he’s been at work, Mueller has not yet indicted any American for collusion with Russians to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
Stone is scheduled to appear in court in Florida at 11 am. The indictment had been expected. Stone has said for months he was expecting to be charged. He denied any wrongdoing.
In social media posts and interviews before the 2016 election, Stone boasted that he had some advance knowledge that a trove of information connected to Hillary Clinton’s campaign might be leaked to the public by WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.
It turned out Stone was right but was merely echoing what Assange had already publicly said and advancing some theories that sources of his told him. Evidently, Stone did not speak with Assange directly and had no direct knowledge of whether or not Russians were responsible for the alleged hacking of leading Democrats’ emails.
Stone was not charged with having any connection to the alleged hacking or leaked emails or their publication. He was charged primarily with lying about it after the fact.
Stone has repeatedly said that Mueller’s investigation is a politically motivated witch hunt.
“The Mueller investigation is supposed to be about Russian collusion, but it is nothing more than an effort to silence or punish the president’s supporters and his advocates,” Stone told Artvoice.
The indictment is another in a long list of indictments Mueller has charged friends and associates of Trump with – process crimes.
That list includes:
George Papadopoulos, lying to the FBI. He got a 14-day prison sentence.
Paul Manafort and Rick Gates: charged with hiding lobbying work in Ukraine and money made – from the US government, as well as other financial crimes. Gates pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States encompassing the Ukrainian lobbying and money allegations, and a false statements charge. Manafort was convicted of subscribing to false income tax returns, failing to report his foreign bank accounts, and bank fraud.
Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about activities after the election.
Richard Pinedo a petty crook looking to make money selling stolen identities to people he didn’t know. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison and 6 months home detention in October.
Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI related to his Ukrainian work with Gates and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Konstantin Kilimnik, charged with attempting to obstruct justice by tampering with witnesses in Manafort’s case.
Sam Patten, a Republican lobbyist, pleaded guilty to not registering as a foreign agent with his work for Ukrainian politicians.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, pleaded guilty to five tax counts involving his taxi business and other financial transactions and bank fraud and participating in a scheme to violate campaign finance laws in connection with hush money payments to women alleging affairs with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. The charges had nothing to do with Russian interference. Cohen also made a plea deal with Mueller for lying to Congress about efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, which had nothing to do with Russian interference in the 2016 election.
To date, no American, let alone any Trump associate, including Roger Stone has been charged with crimes relating to colluding with Russians to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.