Roger Stone enters not guilty plea

Author: CNN
Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump, stands outside of the federal courthouse following a hearing, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Stone was arrested Friday in the special counsel’s Russia investigation and was charged with lying to Congress and obstructing the probe. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Roger Stone, a longtime Republican campaign adviser and confidant of President Donald Trump, pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning to seven criminal charges of false statements, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

Special counsel Robert Mueller and the US attorney for the District of Columbia have accused Stone of lying to congressional investigators about his communications regarding WikiLeaks’ publication of stolen emails meant to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016. In one charge, he is accused of threatening a contact of his whose congressional testimony about WikiLeaks would contradict Stone’s.

The indictment also describes how Stone allegedly coordinated with top Trump campaign officials about his outreach to WikiLeaks.

No changes were made to Stone’s bail, which had been set last Friday after his arrest at $250,000 and his travel is limited to Florida, New York, Virginia and Washington, DC. Stone’s next appearance in court will be Friday before District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is handling several of the major Mueller cases, including the guilty plea of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Stone has already appeared in federal court once in Florida, following his early morning arrest at his Fort Lauderdale home. A swarm of armed FBI agents had surprised him at 6 a.m. Friday because of a fear he might flee or destroy evidence.

Stone, a colorful political operative who’s taken several opportunities to flash President Richard Nixon’s “V for victory” hand signals, said Friday he would “plead not guilty to these charges.”

He then did the rounds of TV interviews on major media outlets. On Monday, he sent an email newsletter as a pitch to raise money for his legal expenses, which continues his approach this year of selling T-shirts and signed rocks for the same cause.

Stone became the 34th person charged by Mueller. Of those people, seven have pleaded guilty — with many, especially those who worked closely with Trump, agreeing to help investigators. Twenty-six indicted Russians have not appeared in US court to enter pleas.

Only one other defendant — the Russian company Concord Management and Consulting — is currently attempting to fight Mueller’s charges.

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