Roger Stone Pleads Not Guilty to Charges in Russia Probe

Roger Stone arrives at Federal Court on Jan. 29, 2019, in Washington. Arrested in the special counsel’s Russia investigation, the former campaign adviser for President Donald Trump is charged with lying to Congress and obstructing the probe. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (CN) – Longtime Republican political operative Roger Stone pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of lying to Congress and obstructing an official proceeding.

Stone, 66, appeared in court this morning following his arrest Friday in a predawn raid of his Florida home. The former adviser to President Donald Trump has long been on the radar of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the election and the Trump campaign’s suspected coordination with that effort. According to his indictment, Stone lied to the House Intelligence Committee about his interactions with WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election.

The 24-page indictment says Stone directed radio host Randy Credico and conservative author Jerome Corsi to get details from WikiLeaks about its plans to release emails that were stolen from and expected to damage Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Credico and Corsi are referred to pseudonymously in the indictment.

Stone allegedly told the Trump campaign initially that WikiLeaks had the stolen documents, and prosecutors say he obliged when an unnamed senior campaign official later asked him to relay additional information about future releases.

Since his arrest on Friday, Stone has denied the charges against him in multiple interviews. He appeared for his arraignment this morning wearing a dark blue suit, a tie of the same color and a light blue shirt that matched the plaid pocket square in his jacket. 

Ignoring reporters that flanked the courthouse, Stone entered and exited the courtroom of U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson from a public hallway.

Famously talkative outside of the courthouse, Stone spoke little during the hearing itself. When asked if he understood the conditions of his release, Stone simply replied, “yes, your honor.”

A swarm of media cameras lay in wait outside the downtown Washington courthouse as shouting protesters and counter-protesters pressed together around a set of microphones.

Stone avoided the microphones and instead followed a police escort into a black SUV parked on the street that the protesters and media immediately surrounded.

Among the protesting groups, supporters of Stone held signs saying he was falsely accused and criticizing the Mueller probe as politically motivated. Others yelled that Stone was a “traitor,” with one group crowding his car with bright red letters spelling out that belief.

The indictment is the latest a grand jury has returned in connection to Mueller’s investigation. Stone is the sixth person with ties to Trump, his campaign or his administration to be indicted as part of Mueller’s probe.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said at a press conference Monday he believes Mueller’s investigation is “close to being completed.”

Stone will appear again in court on Friday afternoon for a status conference, this time before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is overseeing his case.

The indictment is the latest a grand jury has returned in connection to Mueller’s investigation. Stone is the sixth person with ties to Trump, his campaign or his administration to be indicted as part of Mueller’s probe.

Stone entered his plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in downtown Washington, D.C.

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