Former Trump campaign adviser Stone arrives for his criminal trial at U.S. District Court in Washington. Photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters.
Former Trump campaign adviser Stone arrives for his criminal trial at U.S. District Court in Washington. Photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters.

'Straight up lied': prosecutors blast ex-Trump adviser Roger Stone in trial

By By Sarah N. Lynch Time of article published Nov 6, 2019

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WASHINGTON - The prosecution in the trial

of Roger Stone on Wednesday painted President Donald Trump's

longtime adviser as a liar in a criminal case stemming from

former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe that detailed

Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

After a 12-member jury was selected, opening statements

began in the trial in federal court in Washington. The

67-year-old veteran Republican political operative - a

self-described "dirty trickster" and "agent provocateur" - has

pleaded not guilty to charges of obstructing justice, witness

tampering and lying to the U.S. House of Representatives

Intelligence Committee.

"Stone straight up lied" to Congress, prosecutor Aaron

Zelinsky told the jury.

Stone has been a friend and ally of Trump for some 40 years.

"Now you'll ask, why didn't Roger Stone just tell the

truth?" Zelinsky asked the jurors. "The evidence in this case

will show that Roger Stone lied to the House Intelligence

Committee because the truth looked bad."

"The truth looked bad for the Trump campaign, and the truth

looked bad for Donald Trump," Zelinsky added.

The prosecution said the jury will hear testimony from Steve

Bannon, who served as an adviser to Trump during the campaign

and in the White House, and former deputy campaign chairman Rick

Gates, who testified for the government last year in a trial

that led to the conviction of former campaign chairman Paul

Manafort.

Zelinsky accused Stone of five categories of lies. Zelinsky

also told the jurors the case was neither about politics nor

about who hacked the Democratic National Committee in 2016. U.S.

intelligence agencies and Mueller concluded the hacking was done

by Russia.

Stone is accused of lying to the Intelligence Committee

about the Trump campaign's efforts to obtain emails hacked by

Russia that were published by the Wikileaks website to harm

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's candidacy. The

Democratic-led panel is now spearheading the House impeachment

inquiry against Trump over his request that Ukraine investigate

a Democratic rival, Joe Biden.

DEFENSE OPENING STATEMENT UPCOMING

The defense will get its chance to deliver its opening

statement in the afternoon. The opening statements followed the

selection of a 12-person jury in the trial, with U.S. District

Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson presiding.

"Stone regularly updated people on the Trump campaign at the

senior levels about whatever information he thought he had about

Wikileaks," Zelinsky said, adding that Stone "was going to the

very top of the Trump campaign - the CEO of the Trump campaign -

a man named Steve Bannon."

Part of the case involves communications between Stone and

two other key figures: conservative radio host Randy Credico and

conservative author Jerome Corsi. The prosecution said Stone

relied on both men as intermediaries with Wikileaks founder

Julian Assange and the Wikileaks organization as part of an

effort to learn more about a plan to disclose damaging emails

about Clinton.

Zelinsky said Stone tried to pin all of his interactions

with a Wikileaks intermediary on Credico and lied about his

communications with Corsi. Zelinsky said that if one is looking

for someone to "pin something on, Randy Credico is a pretty good

person to pick."

"Randy Credico will tell you that in his past, he has

struggled with alcohol, and Randy Credico will tell you that he

is excitable and Randy Credico will tell you that Roger Stone

knew all of this," the prosecutor said.

Zelinsky said that in July 2016, Stone spoke by phone with

then-candidate Trump for about 10 minutes. Although the precise

contents of the call are unknown, Stone sent an email to Corsi

about an hour later and told him "that a friend of theirs living

in London should see Julian Assange," Zelinsky said.

Two days later, Corsi emailed back and said their friend

planned two more disclosures of hacked emails, Zelinsky said.

Zelinsky said Stone lied in sworn testimony to

Representative Adam Schiff, now chairman of the House

Intelligence Committee, about emails to third parties related to

Assange.

"He said he had no emails of any kind referring to Julian

Assange," Zelinsky said.

In truth, Stone had "many, many such emails" including the

message from Corsi saying more damaging email dumps were coming,

Zelinsky added.

The charges against Stone stem from Mueller's investigation,

although the case is now being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's

Office for the District of Columbia. Mueller wrapped up his

22-month investigation in March.

Mueller documented Russian efforts to boost Trump's

candidacy and led to criminal charges against several Trump

advisers and campaign aides. Stone and his former business

partner Manafort were the only two from this group not to plead

guilty. Manafort was convicted by a Virginia jury and is

incarcerated after being sentenced to 7-1/2 years in prison.

Reuters

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