My friend and sometime colleague Roger Stone's sentencing is set for next week in Washington, DC, (last-minute update: unless, following the dramatic developments of this last week a mistrial is declared) and the circus surrounding it is already in full force. This case, or railroading as it is more aptly described, was over before it began. There was no way Stone was going to get a proper hearing in this venue, with this jury and especially with Obama Judge Amy Berman Jackson and the nasty crew of Deep-State prosecutors on the case (well. Formerly on the case since they all quit this week, butthurt because Roger actually caught a break when the President rightfully stood up for him). It is something that should bother all Americans terribly, regardless of how they might view Roger. Anyway. I figured now would be a good time to revisit the narrative and highlight the ugly, vindictive and indeed unconstitutional manner in which this thing has played out:
As a result of the ‘fake news” media blackout regarding Stone’s prosecution by Robert Mueller and the Department of Justice (DOJ), few Americans understand how and why the longtime Trump political advisor and loyalist was convicted for lying to Congress, how flimsy the case against him is and how he was railroaded in a Soviet-style show trial in Washington, D.C. in which the judge barred every powerful line of defense and carefully stacked an anti-Trump jury comprised completely of liberal Democrats.
Roger Stone is, of course, the veteran Republican Strategist, New York Times bestselling author, pundit and longtime consultant to the Trump Organization. He is a former aide to Senator Bob Dole as well as Presidents Nixon and Reagan. Stone, 67, is a veteran of 10 Republican Presidential campaigns. His seminal role in Donald Trump’s political emergence is detailed in the recent PBS Documentary series on Donald Trump as well as in the award-winning Netflix documentary “Get Me Roger Stone." He served as Chairman of Donald Trump’s Presidential Exploratory Committee on 2000 and 2012, and lives in Fort Lauderdale with his charming wife of 29 years, Nydia Bertran Stone. President Trump was an honored guest at their wedding in Washington, D.C.
An intensive two-year multi-million dollar investigation into Roger Stone by Special Counsel Robert Mueller which began in 2017 turned up no evidence of Russian Collusion, no collaboration with Wikileaks, and no evidence that Roger Stone had advance notice of the source or content of any of the Wikileaks disclosures, including the e-mails of John Podesta before their release, so Robert Mueller indicted Roger Stone for "lying to Congress." (By the way, when do we get to indict Congress for lying to us every day?)
The month prior to Roger Stone’s jack-booted, over-the-top arrest President Trump tweeted: “I will never testify against Trump” This statement was recently by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about ‘President Trump” Nice to know some people still have guts” (December 3, 2018)
On January 25th, 2019 the FBI staged a stunning pre-dawn paramilitary raid in which 29 SWAT uniformed FBI agents stormed the 67-year-old Trump advisor’s Fort Lauderdale home, arriving in 17 armored vehicles and utilizing a K-9 unit, a helicopter over-head and two amphibious units on the canal behind Stone’s home to arrest him. Prosecutors knew Stone was represented by counsel and had spoken with Stone’s lawyer the previous day. The prosecutors' subsequent claim that Stone had to be arrested in this manner because he was considered a “flight risk" was disproven hours later when the government did not oppose his release without a cash bond. Stone had neither a valid passport or a firearm when arrested. Judge Jackson prohibited his lawyers from questioning the FBI’s actions in court. Naturally.
Although the street on which Stone lived was sealed to all by the FBI, CNN was out front filming Stone’s pre-dawn arrest. Stone’s home security video shows a CNN crew arriving and setting up just 25 feet from his front door 11 minutes before the FBI arrived with their assault weapons drawn. Josh Campbell, former Special Assistant to FBI Director James Comey now with CNN, was the first news correspondent to report Stone’s arrest. Stone’s own lawyers learned of their client's arrest in a phone call from a CNN producer. The FBI has denied a FOIA request for all e-mail between the FBI and CNN in the days before the FBI raid on Stone’s home, which is now the subject of a separate lawsuit. Senator Lindsay Graham released a letter to the Department of Justice and FBI demanding to know who approved the raid on Stone’s home. There is no public record of a response. Special Counsel Robert Mueller refused to comment on whether the Special Counsel’s office or the FBI tipped off CNN prior to Stone’s made-for-TV arrest during his Congressional testimony. After Stone’s arrest, President Trump himself tweeted "Who alerted CNN to be there?”
In order to secure search warrants for Stone e-mails, text messages and phone calls, as well as Stone’s home and office in Florida and his New York City apartment, prosecutors told a Federal Judge that they had probable cause of money laundering of foreign money in campaign contributions, mail fraud, wire fraud, and various cyber-crimes including unauthorized access to a computer server. In fact, prosecutors had no such evidence other than Stone’s Twitter feed. Every one of Stone’s tweets were based on publicly available information. The search warrants found no evidence of any of these crimes and Stone was ultimately charged with lying to Congress and one count of witness tampering. Stone’s contrived indictment was crafted by Mueller deputy Andrew Weissman based on the meta-tags on the copy of the indictment blast e-mailed to the press at 7 a.m. the morning of his arrest (even though a Federal Magistrate did not unseal the indictment until 9:30 a.m. that same morning) where Weissman left his initials.
Next, the office of Special Counsel argued that Stone’s case would go before Judge Amy Berman Jackson because they said Stone’s case was related to the still untried case in which Mueller charged 75 Russians for the alleged hacking of the Democratic National Committee, claiming Stone’s e-mail address was found by a search warrant in that case. Mueller’s team said this case is related to Stone’s for two reasons: first, that certain "stolen documents" are a topic in both cases, and second, that warrants used in the Russian hacker case surfaced "certain evidence that is relevant" to Stone’s case. In fact, no evidence from the Russian hacking case was introduced at Stone’s trial. Nothing in Stone’s indictment alleged he had access to "stolen documents." Mueller was essentially allowed to "Judge Shop," which is widely considered to be an abuse of the Court.
Obama appointee Judge Jackson is a liberal activist judge who dismissed the wrongful death lawsuit against Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as dismissing the suit by the Catholic Church challenging Obamacare’s requirement that employers provide free coverage for contraception and abortion. Jackson’s decision was overturned by the US Supreme Court. Jackson also presided over the case of former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort in which Manafort was incarcerated prior to and during his trial despite the fact that he hadn’t been convicted of any crime. An early motion for a different judge and a different venue by Stone’s lawyers was denied. Naturally.
Jackson ruled for the prosecution and against Stone’s lawyers on every motion in the case save one. It was reported that the judge would often smirk and roll her eyes at the jury when Stone’s lawyers were speaking in court.
After a five day Soviet-style show trial in which Judge Jackson barred Stone from mounting any effective line of defense, Stone was convicted by an all-Democrat DC Jury on all seven counts against him and now faces the potential of many, many years in prison. Some say there will be a move to take him into custody at sentencing, which would be a highly unusual move in a case like this and simply underscores the Deep State spite Stone has been up against.
Minutes after Stone’s conviction, President Trump tweeted "Now they have convicted Roger Stone for lying to Congress and want to give him a long prison term. What about Crooked Hillary, Comey, Strzok, Page, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Schiff, Ohr, Steele and Mueller himself all lied and not been prosecuted. This is double standard like never seen before in our country."
Indeed, Comey, Brennan, Clapper, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Rosenstein, Ohr and Mueller all lied under oath to Congress on consequential matters, but Judge Jackson specifically prohibited Stone's defense lawyers from arguing that Stone’s case was one of "selective prosecution." Naturally.
President Trump told FOX News on Christmas Eve 2019 that Stone was a "nice guy who many people like," and that he thought Stone "was a good person" who, along with General Michael Flynn, had been treated "very unfairly" in his prosecution by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the US Attorney for the District of Columbia. Trump called the prosecution of Stone and Flynn a "hoax by dirty cops."
Roger Stone was indicted for lying to Congress despite the failure of Mueller to find any underlying crime for Stone to lie about. At trial, prosecutors provided evidence that Stone tried (unsuccessfully) to learn the content of the announced Wikileaks disclosures (which is not a crime). Mueller criminalized perfectly legal political activities in the indictment and conviction of Stone. Naturally.
Overseeing Stone’s case for the Office of Special Counsel was Jeannie Rhee, who represented Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation in the big e-mail case. Rhee gave the maximum contribution to Hillary’s campaigns in 2008 and 2016 as well as Obama in 2008. Aaron Zelinsky, a former Huffington Post Columnist and Assistant US Attorney were recommended by Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to assist Rhee in Stone’s prosecution. Stone’s case would ultimately be prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Jonathan Kravis who served as Associate White House Counsel for President Barack Obama. Adam Jed, an Obama DOJ official who successfully argued that the act of Congress outlawing gay marriage was unconstitutional, rounded out Mueller’s prosecution of Stone. Stone was prosecuted by his partisan political opponents.
The angry prosecution by Rhee, Hillary Clinton’s lawyer, is likely related to the publication of Stone’s book, "The Clintons’ War on Women," which not only detailed Bill Clinton’s serial sexual assaults on multiple women but Hillary’s role in intimidating, bullying and silencing them. More importantly, Roger Stone was the first person to expose the Epstein-Clinton connection, documenting Bill Clinton’s 28 flights to the convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s private Island and Epstein’s role in the founding of the Clinton Foundation.
Violation of the False Statement Act for which Stone was charged, requires not only that the statement be false but also that it be material and there was an intent to deceive. The prosecution's claim that Stone lied because "the truth wouldn’t look good for Donald Trump" is ludicrous in view of that fact that candidate Trump himself spoke openly about his campaign’s interest in the Wikileaks disclosure:
October 10, 2016 in Wilkes-Barre, PA: "This just came out," Trump said. "WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks."
October 12, 2016 in Ocala, FL:"This WikiLeaks stuff is unbelievable," Trump said. "It tells you the inner heart, you gotta read it."
October 13, 2016 in Cincinnati, OH:"It's been amazing what's coming out on WikiLeaks."
October 31, 2016 in Warren, MI:"Another one came in today," Trump said. "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove."
November 4, 2016 in Wilmington, OH:"Getting off the plane, they were just announcing new WikiLeaks, and I wanted to stay there, but I didn't want to keep you waiting," said Trump. "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks."
In fact, candidate Trump mentioned WikiLeaks 141 times in the month before the 2016 election, according to MSNBC. So, what was Stone "hiding?" Stone, who appeared before the committee voluntarily and not under subpoena, had no motive to lie about what was a completely legal political activity. There was no testimony at Stone’s trial that he told any Trump campaign official anything about Wikileaks that they could not have read on Stone’s Twitter feed. The House Intelligence Committee voted to turn over Stone’s classified testimony at Mueller’s request but did not refer Stone for prosecution. The committee’s final report did not find that Stone had misled the committee.
Another count, "witness tampering," is also false. Stone had already divulged to the House Intelligence Committee that progressive radio host and comic impressionist Randy Credico, whom Stone had nobly worked with on criminal justice reform, was his source regarding the significance and timing of the coming Wikileaks disclosures to the House Intelligence Committee. Stone urged Credico to assert his Fifth Amendment rights not to testify before the House Intelligence Committee because, according to Stone, Credico said he had feared public exposure in the Progressive community because he had “helped elect Trump.” Credico admitted that his own lawyer advised him to assert his Fifth Amendment rights as did numerous reporters and the ACLU.
Hyped up charges by prosecutors, that Stone had threatened to “steal Credico’s dog” to pressure him into silence, were specifically denied by Credico at trial. On January 20th, 2020, Credico wrote a letter to Judge Jackson saying that he “never felt threatened by Stone." Nonetheless, Stone was convicted on the charge of witness tampering. The prosecution insisted that Credico was not Stone’s source regarding the general significance and October release of the Wikileaks disclosures, despite Stone’s release of a chain of e-mails which indisputably prove that he was.
Federal prosecutors insisted that Dr. Jerry Corsi was the source of Stone’s limited knowledge of Wikileaks' plans, but prosecutors produced no evidence whatsoever to prove this and pointedly did not call Corsi as a witness at Stone’s trial. An August 2nd e-mail exchange between Stone and Corsi produced by the government at trial showed Corsi’s prognostications that a major Wikileaks data dump would come in August and would pertain to the Clinton Foundation were incorrect. A text exchange between Corsi and Stone on October 3rd showed Corsi writing "Assange has nothing and has made a fool of himself."
Convicted felon Rick Gates testified at Stone’s trial that he overheard a cell phone conversation between Stone and Trump while in an SUV on the way to LaGuardia Airport in August 2016. Gates admitted that he could not hear the actual conversation and Federal prosecutors produced no phone record or additional witnesses to corroborate this claim, although Gates said there were two Secret Service Agents in the SUV. Both Trump and Stone have denied this conversation ever took place. In written responses to questions from Mueller, President Trump specifically denied ever discussing the Wikileaks disclosures. Gates, who was convicted of conspiracy and lying to the FBI, received only a 45-day sentence in return for his testimony against Stone. Federal prosecutors also declined to prosecute Gates for not paying taxes on millions of dollars of income he admitted he embezzled from his partner Paul Manafort.
Naturally, the DC Jury found Stone guilty on all charges. While one juror (a Beto O’Rourke contributor) told the Washington Post that the jury was "diverse in age, gender, race, ethnicity, income, education and occupation." His claim is misleading to say the least. The jury included no Republicans, no military veterans, no Roman Catholics, no Black men and no one with less than a college education but did include a former Democratic candidate for Congress, two lawyers who worked in Democratic administrations, three jurors with ties to the FBI, three jurors with ties to the Department of Justice and two jurors with ties to the CIA as well as an Obama appointee to the position of Communications Director of a Federal Department. It is and always has been questionable whether any Republican can get a fair trial in the District of Columbia.
The underlying premise of the federal indictment of Roger Stone contained in the first two pages of his indictment is that the Russians hacked the DNC and provided this allegedly hacked data to Wikileaks. All of the questions Stone allegedly lied about relating to this alleged action, yet Judge Amy Berman Jackson would not allow Stone’s lawyers to disprove this by calling forensic witnesses like for NSA Bill Binney. Having based their prosecution of Stone on this premise Federal Prosecutors now insisted it was irrelevant.
When the government admitted in discovery that the FBI had never inspected the DNC computer servers and had instead relied on a redacted draft memo from Crowdstrike, an IT firm closely tied to Hillary Clinton, the admission got broad media coverage. The Government then filed an additional sur-reply with the court claiming to have other sources of confirmation that the DNC had been hacked by the Russian but declining to produce any proof of this claim.
Judge Jackson barred Stone’s attorneys from raising any questions regarding the misconduct of the Special Prosecutor, the DOJ, the FBI or Members of Congress. "There will be no investigating of the investigators in my courtroom," she said despite the appointment of Special Counsel John Durham, by Attorney General Bill Barr, to do exactly that.
Congressman Adam Schiff admitted his coordination with the office of the Special Counsel was in violation of House Rules in a letter to Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes yet Judge Jackson prohibited Stone’s lawyers from pursuing this evidence of a "set-up" by Schiff. The Washington Post reported that Mueller had an advance copy of Stone’s classified testimony (another violation of House Rules) prior to the full committee voting to release the testimony to the Special Counsel at Mueller’s request but did so with no referral for prosecution for perjury. Schiff, Congressman Eric Swallwell and Congressman Joaquin Castro all predicted immediately after Stone’s testimony that he would be indicted for perjury -- impossible for them to know without having seen the fruits of surveillance on Stone.
Perhaps most concerning, Stone has been gagged during this entire process and not allowed to defend himself. He remains, even post-conviction, under a constitutionally questionable gag order imposed by Judge Jackson. Nydia Stone has said publicly that her husband was prosecuted because he refused a deal to falsely against the President regarding the content of more than 25 phone calls between candidate Trump and Stone in 2016 proposed by prosecutors just prior to the transmittal of the Special Counsel’s Report to Attorney General Bill Barr.
While Stone has been gagged by the Judge based on the claim that his public defense of himself would "taint the jury pool" the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, The New York Times, the Daily Beast, Vox, Vice and others orchestrated a 18 month drumbeat of leaks from Mueller claiming that Stone would be prosecuted for treason and conspiracy against the United States and would prove to be the link between the Trump Campaign and Russia. None of this would prove true. Naturally.
Roger Stone was the last victim of Mueller’s Witch Hunt. He was railroaded in a vindictive, politically motivated prosecution by an angry Deep State, a biased Judge and a stacked jury who want nothing more than to see him rot in a cell for many years. He and his family have been bankrupted, having lost their home, their savings, their insurance and Stone’s ability to make a living. Nydia Stone, 71 is deaf and has no means to support herself if her husband is incarcerated for what could amount to a life sentence.
150,000 Americans have now signed a petition urging President Trump to "Free Roger Stone." President Trump having called Stone’s prosecution a hoax, should pardon Roger Stone as an act of mercy, truth and justice.
Christian Josi is a leading communications advisor, author, and a veteran of center-right/libertarian politics and non-profit management. He is the Founder and Managing Director of C. Josi & Company, a global communications resource firm based in Virginia Beach and Washington, and Principal of SLAYMEDIA, based in same.