On January 25, 2019, Roger Stone was arrested by FBI agents who conducted a pre-dawn tactical assault on his Ft. Lauderdale home (Rodger Kirsopp probably had an orgasm when he saw all the vehicles and weapons that were involved in the raid).
For those who were watching CNN at the time, they got to see the event in “real-time” because a CNN film crew “had a hunch” that the raid might occur that morning.
The indictment that resulted in Stone’s arrest included the following charges:
– Count 1: Obstruction of Proceeding
– Count 2-6: False Statements
– Count 7: Witness Tampering
While the charges against Stone are relatively straightforward and easy to understand, the reasons why those charges were brought – and why he’s facing 50 years in federal prison – are much more complicated.
Here is some background information – and the essential facts regarding each charge (Since all the background information is taken directly from the indictment, the word “allegedly” is implied within each statement).
In May 2016, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) became aware that its computer system had been hacked.
During the period from July 2016 through November 2016, Wikileaks released tens of thousands of DNC documents (It also released tens of thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails).
During the summer of 2016, Stone was contacted by representatives of Donald Trump’s campaign – and asked if he could find out if/when Wikileaks was going to be releasing more documents.
In August 2016, Stone made some comments that indicated he had been in touch with Julian Assange, the head of Wikileaks.
Wikileaks immediately responded that the organization had not had any contact with Stone.
Stone then clarified that his contact with Wikileaks had been through a person he described at various times as a “mutual friend”, a “go-between”, and an “intermediary” (Various news organizations have asserted that Stone was referring to an author named Jerome Corsi).
In a series of emails and text messages that took place in September and October 2016, Stone asked Randy Credico, a comedian and talk-show host, to pass along messages to Wikileaks.
Credico responded by saying “OK,” and added in a later text message, “[j]ust remember do not name me as your connection to Julian Assange; you had one before that you referred to”.
Shortly after the 2016 presidential election, the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) launched an investigation into the alleged involvement of Russia in the 2016 election.
On September 26, 2017, Stone appeared as a witness before the HPSCI.
During the course of his testimony, he denied having any documents concerning Assange.
He also did not mention that Corsi had been his original go-between with Assange.
And he claimed that all of his communications with Corsi and Credico had been in person or over the phone – rather than via texts and emails.
Finally, he denied having shared any information that he received from his intermediaries with members of the Trump campaign.
RE: Count 1: Obstruction of Proceeding
This charge alleges that Stone interfered with the HPSCI hearing by testifying falsely, by failing to turn over documents that the HPSCI had requested, and by misleading the HPSCI about who had been his intermediary with Assange in mid-August 2016. It also alleges that Stone attempted to have Credico provide false testimony when he appeared before the HPSCI (Credico actually involved his Fifth Amendment rights – and refused to answer any questions from the HPSCI).
RE: Counts 2-6: False Statements
All these charges are based on what the government claims were “materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations” that Stone made during and after his appearance before the HPSCI. The specific allegations regarding each of these counts are as follows:
– Count 2: He testified falsely that he did not have emails with third parties about Assange – and that he did not have any documents, emails, or text messages that refer to Assange.
– Count 3: He testified falsely that his August 2016 references to his intermediary with Assange were references to Credico.
– Count 4: He testified falsely that he did not ask Corsi to communicate anything to Assange – and did not ask Corsi to do anything on his behalf.
– Count 5: He testified falsely that he and Corsi did not communicate via text message or email about Wikileaks.
– Count 6: He testified falsely that he had never discussed his conversations with Corsi with anyone involved in the Trump campaign.
RE: Count 7: False Statements
This charge alleges that Stone “knowingly and intentionally corruptly persuaded – and attempted to corruptly persuade” – Credico not to testify before the HPSCI.
An Awful Lot of Firepower for Very Little Fire
While I certainly won’t assert that Stone did nothing wrong, it does seem to me that the government has turned what appears to be, at most, a simple perjury case into a multi-count indictment that could result in a prison sentence of 50 years.
50 years – for this kind of chicken shit?
Seriously – in the USA?
I know we love to incarcerate people in this country. That’s why even though we represent 5% of the world’s population, we have almost 25% of its prisoners.
But 50 years?
I don’t care what your politics are. Threatening to put someone in prison for 50 years for what Roger Stone is alleged to have done is way over the top.
He didn’t collude with Russia.
He didn’t try to overthrow the country.
He didn’t kill anyone.
Hell, he didn’t even brand anyone.