Former Donald Trump presidential campaign adviser Roger Stone has admitted to spreading false information online through a far-right conspiracy theory website, according to court records filed as a part of a settlement in a defamation case brought against the longtime Republican operative.
The settlement, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, says that Mr Stone made defamatory statements against Chinese businessman Guo Wengui, who has been a vocal critic of Beijing.
Among those false claims — which Mr Stone spread on the website InfoWars and on social media — were accusations that Mr Guo made illegal contributions to the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton in 2016, and that he is a “turncoat criminal who is convicted of crimes here and in China”.
In the settlement, Mr Stone says that he did not adequately research the claims himself before posting the accusations, and that he “improperly” relied on information provided by Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign advisor. The settlement indicates Mr Nunberg received the information from Bruno Wu, a Chinese-American who Mr Guo has previously accused of being a Chinese spy.
“Recognising my errors, I reached out to Mr. Guo and asked him to settle his defamation suit against me”, Mr Stone said in the settlement statement. “Mr Guo graciously agreed to accept my regrets and apology”.
Mr Guo had originally sought $100 million in damages. The settlement indicates that the charges will be dropped after Mr Stone's statement is printed in major US newspapers, and posted on InfoWars, Facebook, Instagram, and Mr Stone's personal website.
The settlement comes as questions surrounding Mr Stone’s credibility have swirled, and as Mr Stone expects an indictment from the special counsel investigation run by Robert Mueller.
Mr Mueller’s team is reportedly looking into ties between Mr Stone and the website WikiLeaks, which published hacked emails from Democrats during the 2016 election.
Text messages unearthed since those leaks appear to show said that “big news” that would be harmful to Ms Clinton was imminent.
Mr Stone has denied wrongdoing regarding WikiLeaks' releases during the 2016 campaign.
Mr Stone has said that he expects to be indicted by the Mueller probe, but has said he will never testify against President Donald Trump.
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