Donald Trump’s longtime associate Roger Stone has been found guilty of obstruction of justice in a case accusing him of lying to Congress about his interactions with the president and WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The Republican operative was charged in a seven-count indictment that alleged he lied to lawmakers about WikiLeaks, tampered with witnesses and obstructed a House intelligence committee investigation.
Stone, who was indicted in January as a result of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, has a sentencing date set for 6 February. The 67-year-old faces up to 20 years in prison.
His trial highlighted how Trump campaign associates were eager to gather information about hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton that were released by the anti-secrecy website.
The campaign viewed Stone as an “access point” to WikiLeaks, witnesses in the trial told jurors.
Prosecutors said Stone lied to congress about his conversations about WikiLeaks with New York radio host Randy Credico and conservative writer and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi.
He is also accused of trying to intimidate Credico and threatening to take his dog.
Stone had denied the allegations and decried the case as politically motivated.
He is the sixth aide or adviser to the president to be convicted of charges stemming from the special counsel’s Russia investigation.
The president decried the verdict, saying it was part of a “double standard like never seen before in the history of our country” in a tweet.
“So they now convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years to come”, he wrote. “Well, what about Crooked Hillary, Comey, Strzok, Page, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Shifty Schiff, Ohr & Nellie, Steele & all of the others, including even Mueller himself? Didn’t they lie?”
Steve Bannon, who served as the campaign’s chief executive, testified during the trial that Stone had boasted about his ties to WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, alerting them to pending new batches of damaging emails.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors used Stone’s own text messages and emails – some of which appeared to contradict his congressional testimony – to lay out their case that he lied to congress and threatened a witness.
Stone did not testify, and his lawyers called no witnesses in his defence.
On Tuesday, a top former Trump campaign official, Rick Gates, who was a key cooperator in the Mueller probe, testified that Stone tried to contact Jared Kushner, Mr Trump’s son-in-law, to “debrief” him about developments on the hacked emails.
During the 2016 campaign, Stone had mentioned in interviews and public appearances that he was in contact with Mr Assange through a trusted intermediary and hinted at inside knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans.
Earlier testimony revealed that Stone, while appearing before the House Intelligence Committee, named Credico as his intermediary to Mr Assange and pressured Credico not to contradict him.
Additional reporting by AP
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