Mr. Stone was found guilty of all seven counts against him, including five involving making false statements to Congress. Federal prosecutors made the case that Mr. Stone lied to Congress about his efforts to make contact with the organization WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign. The jury of nine women and three men began deliberating Thursday morning at a Washington D.C. courthouse after a one-week trial.
The witness tampering charge carries a stiff penalty, with Mr. Stone facing as much as 20 years in prison, although first-time offenders often get far less than the maximum penalty. The other charges carry a maximum of five years.
WikiLeaks published several troves of Democratic Party emails stolen by Russian hackers as part of a Kremlin campaign to boost Mr. Trump at the expense of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded.
““Roger Stone had no intention of being truthful with the committee…he is just making stuff up,” prosecutor Jonathan Kravis had told jurors, saying Mr. Stone did so to help Mr. Trump.
Mr. Stone is the sixth associate of Mr. Trump to be convicted on charges stemming from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian activity in the 2016 election.
Mr. Mueller’s report didn’t establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia. The Stone trial was one of the final loose ends from the Mueller investigation, which wrapped up in March.
Mr. Stone’s defense attorneys portrayed him as a serial exaggerator who was merely pretending to have inside knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans to inflate his standing in Mr. Trump’s inner circle. They offered no witnesses in Mr. Stone’s defense. They rested their case after playing a roughly hourlong clip of Mr. Stone’s testimony in front of Congress.
“There was no purpose for Mr. Stone to have to lie about anything to protect the campaign, when the campaign was doing nothing wrong,” Bruce Rogow told jurors in summing up the case. He also noted that Mr. Stone spoke to Congress after Mr. Trump was elected, so couldn’t have hurt Mr. Trump’s campaign.
Mr. Stone has been a Republican operative for decades, beginning in 1972 when he served as a junior staffer on President Nixon’s reelection campaign. He went on to work for Ronald Reagan in his presidential bid. When in New York organizing for the campaign in 1979, he was introduced to Mr. Trump by attorney Roy Cohn.
Mr. Stone registered as a lobbyist on behalf of the Trump Organization in the late 1990s and early 2000s, according to public records. Around that time, he began counseling Mr. Trump on his political ambitions, and the two became friends.
Although Mr. Stone was sidelined from mainstream Republican politics following salacious revelations about his personal life in the mid-1990s, he continued to advise Mr. Trump for years, including helping to lead Mr. Trump’s aborted 2000 presidential campaign on the Reform Party ticket. He served on the Trump 2016 campaign when it started but severed ties in the summer of 2015.
Despite leaving his official role on the campaign, the two men remained in contact leading up to the 2016 election, according to testimony and phone logs introduced in court.
Witnesses testified that Mr. Stone relayed information about WikiLeaks’ plans directly to Mr. Trump and officials at the top of his campaign. Former campaign chairman Steve Bannon told jurors that the campaign considered Mr. Stone to be its “access point” to WikiLeaks, and former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates testified that Mr. Stone spoke about forthcoming WikiLeaks releases as early as April of 2016.
Mr. Stone has denied speaking to Mr. Trump about WikiLeaks, and Mr. Trump told the special counsel’s office he didn’t recall discussing WikiLeaks with Mr. Stone, according to written responses he provided to Mr. Mueller’s office last year.
While prosecutors argued Mr. Stone lied to the House Intelligence Committee and effectively obstructed their investigation by withholding the name of another witness—conservative activist Jerome Corsi—the trial didn’t resolve questions about whether Messrs. Stone and Corsi and Trump had inside information about WikiLeaks’ plans.
In July of 2016, Mr. Stone and Mr. Corsi exchanged emails as they scrambled to learn more about the material the organization planned to release.
Days later, Mr. Corsi responded that WikiLeaks planned “2 more dumps,” including one in October. “Time to let more than Podesta be exposed as in bed w enemy,” Mr. Corsi wrote, referring to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Soon thereafter, Mr. Stone began boasting privately and publicly about his contact with Mr. Assange. Then, on Aug. 21, Mr. Stone tweeted: “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel” (sic). Weeks later, WikiLeaks began releasing emails stolen from Mr. Podesta, roiling the presidential race.
Mr. Corsi said he merely “figured out” that WikiLeaks had Mr. Podesta’s emails by using publicly available information, and both Mr. Corsi and Mr. Stone have denied being in touch with Mr. Assange directly or indirectly. Mr. Stone has also maintained that his tweet was related to the lobbying activities of Mr. Podesta and his brother Tony.
Mr. Assange has denied being in communication with Mr. Stone.
Mr. Corsi publicly rejected a plea deal from Mueller’s team last year. He said that while he was “constantly amending testimony,” he never intentionally lied to prosecutors. He also acknowledged deleting emails in which he and Mr. Stone discussed reaching out to WikiLeaks, though he denied wrongdoing and was never prosecuted.
To shield Mr. Corsi from scrutiny in the congressional probe, Mr. Stone falsely told lawmakers that he only had one “backchannel” to WikiLeaks, naming radio personality Randy Credico, prosecutors said. They argued that Mr. Stone corruptly persuaded Mr. Credico to lie to the House committee and even avoid testifying.
The other Trump associates who have been convicted in connection with the Mueller investigation are: Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman, convicted by a jury of financial crimes; Mr. Gates, former deputy chairman of the campaign, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and false statements; former national security adviser Mike Flynn, who pleaded guilty to false statements; former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to false statements, tax charges and campaign finance allegations; and George Papadopoulos, a low-level campaign aide who pleaded guilty to lying.
>> IT SEEMS THEY HAVE HAD A RETURN TO CAP, CONFUSE, ATTACK,
RETURN TO CAP, CONFUSE, ATTACK, AND POINT THE FINGER.
AND POINT THE FINGER. THAT IS WHAT THE PRESIDENT AND
THAT IS WHAT THE PRESIDENT AND OTHERS DID AROUND THE MUELLER
OTHERS DID AROUND THE MUELLER REPORT, AND I WOULD SAY THEY
REPORT, AND I WOULD SAY THEY WERE HAPPY WITH HOW THAT HE
WERE HAPPY WITH HOW THAT HE NEEDSED UP, IS THAT WHAT
NEEDSED UP, IS THAT WHAT HAPPENED AGAIN?
HAPPENED AGAIN? >> THAT IS EXACTLY RIGHT,
THAT IS EXACTLY RIGHT, THEY’RE RETURNING TO THIS
THEY’RE RETURNING TO THIS FAMILIAR PLAY BOOK TRYING TO
FAMILIAR PLAY BOOK TRYING TO DISTRACT BY BRINGING UP THE
DISTRACT BY BRINGING UP THE BIDEN’S AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY,
BIDEN’S AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY, AND JUST TRYING TO RIDE OUT THIS
AND JUST TRYING TO RIDE OUT THIS STORM, BUT THE PROBLEM THAT THE
STORM, BUT THE PROBLEM THAT THE WHITE HOUSE FACES RIGHT NOW IS
WHITE HOUSE FACES RIGHT NOW IS THAT THERE IS A SET OF FACTS
THAT THERE IS A SET OF FACTS THAT ARE JUST DAMAGING FOR THE
THAT ARE JUST DAMAGING FOR THE PRESIDENT, NO OTHER WAY TO PUT
PRESIDENT, NO OTHER WAY TO PUT THAT, AND YOU’RE SEEING THE
THAT, AND YOU’RE SEEING THE PRESIDENT’S REPUBLICAN ALLIES
PRESIDENT’S REPUBLICAN ALLIES ARE GIVING THESE TALKING POINTS
ARE GIVING THESE TALKING POINTS THAT SORT OF LACK INTELLECTUAL
THAT SORT OF LACK INTELLECTUAL CONSISTENCY, AND KEVIN McCAR
CONSISTENCY, AND KEVIN McCAR THINK GOT A LOT OF CRITICISM FOR
THINK GOT A LOT OF CRITICISM FOR THE INTERVIEW HE GAVE OVER THE
THE INTERVIEW HE GAVE OVER THE WEEKEND WHERE HE COULD NOT PUT
WEEKEND WHERE HE COULD NOT PUT TOGETHER A FORCEFUL AND STRONG
TOGETHER A FORCEFUL AND STRONG AND BELIEVABLE DEFENSE OF THE
AND BELIEVABLE DEFENSE OF THE GOVERNMENT.
GOVERNMENT. AT I AT THE WHITE HOUSE THEY’RE
AT I AT THE WHITE HOUSE THEY’RE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO
TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO NAVIGATE ALL OF THIS.
The House Ethics Committee announced Friday that it has launched an investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who posted an incendiary tweet on the eve of a high-profile congressional hearing featuring President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen.
In the late February tweet in question, Gaetz, a staunch Trump ally, suggested without evidence that Cohen, who is married, had “girlfriends,” prompting some legal observers and Democrats to accuse the Florida Republican of engaging in witness tampering.
In a joint statement, the Democratic chairman and top Republican on the Ethics Committee said it had received a complaint that Gaetz “sought to threaten, intimidate, harass, or otherwise improperly influence” Cohen ahead of his testimony.
The statement said Gaetz declined to be interviewed about the matter by the committee. As a result, in keeping with committee rules, an investigative subcommittee was established to review the allegations against Gaetz, the statement said.
A spokesman for Gaetz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the tweet in question, Gaetz wrote: “Hey @MichaelCohen212 — Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot.”
Hours after he posted the tweet, Gaetz apologized and deleted it, insisting that he did not intend to threaten Cohen ahead of his highly anticipated testimony before Congress.
Gaetz later said he had personally apologized to Cohen as well, and he issued a plea to his Twitter followers to “leave the Cohen family alone.”
Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s controversial claim that a secret report exonerated his chief of police in an incident with racial undertones appears to be contradicted by the report itself, according to a leaked excerpt obtained by The Young Turks.
The report was compiled in 2013 by an Indiana State Police (ISP) investigator, after a black civilian alleged that South Bend’s police chief failed to back up a black lieutenant during an altercation outside a community center.
Buttigieg refused to release the ISP report, but told city officials in a letter that witness accounts in the report “make clear” that then-Chief Ron Teachman, who is white, did not violate requirements for backing up fellow officers and that Teachman “has my full confidence.”
However, according to the leaked excerpt, which includes a summary of the report’s findings, none of the witnesses corroborate Teachman’s account. Multiple witnesses directly challenge Teachman’s claims. In some passages witnesses say explicitly that Teachman failed to back up his fellow officer, Lt. David Newton.
Buttigieg did not disclose that the ISP also investigated Teachman’s conduct after the incident, a fact that has not been public knowledge until now. Specifically, the report addresses conduct that may have violated other police guidelines, raising the possibility that Teachman tried to intimidate Newton and influence his account of the incident.
Asked about the secret report’s findings, Buttigieg campaign Press Secretary Chris Meagher told TYT that the letter Buttigieg sent to city officials “adequately covers the mayor’s position on this issue.” (Teachman no longer works for the city. Messages left for him by phone and email were not returned.)
Newton, now chief investigator for the county prosecutor, told TYT that, “In my opinion Buttigieg killed the report because it made Teachman look bad.”
Newton confirmed the report’s implication that he felt pressured to change his story. “Teachman tried to steer me to frame what happened,” he told TYT. “I was ruined… just because I wouldn’t lie and play ball.”
Members of the city’s legislative body, the Common Council, wanted to see the ISP report for themselves, but Buttigieg refused, citing the law and personnel policies.
Instead, Buttigieg sent Council members his letter, which suggested that witnesses gave conflicting accounts. “Across the varying recollections of the interviewees,” he wrote, “in my judgment the accounts of the incident contained in the report make clear that there was no wrongful neglect of the Police Duty Manual’s requirements on backing up a fellow officer requesting help…”
The report does mention “variations in the statements of the witnesses,” but the only variations the report focuses on are Teachman’s. The ISP investigator asks Teachman multiple times about differences between his account and those of other witnesses.
According to Newton and other witnesses in the report, the incident began when a center employee came in and told Newton there was a possible fight outside involving guns. The center is located in a predominantly black neighborhood.
Newton went out alone, “his hand on his duty weapon,” and called for backup. All other units were busy at the time, the report said.
Teachman had just gone to use the restroom when the employee reported the fight, witnesses said. Only Teachman gave a different account, telling the ISP that he and Newton learned of the fight at the same time.
According to the report, Teachman “said that they both started to get up to handle the situation at which time Lt. Newton told the chief that he could handle it. Chief Teachman said that Lt. Newton made this statement several times.” Newton, however, told the ISP he never said that to Teachman, and that Teachman had already left for the restroom by then.
The ISP asked Teachman about this discrepancy. “Chief Teachman was informed that of all the people interviewed, that he was the only person up to this point that said he was present at the initial notification of the fight. Chief Teachman stated that was the way he recalled it to the best of his memory.”
The ISP investigator writes, “I then questioned Chief Teachman about the fact that even Lt. Newton said [Teachman] was not present when [Newton] was notified.”
Despite the ISP finding that Teachman was “the only person” who said he was present when the fight was first reported, Buttigieg reportedlytold the South Bend Tribune that witnesses differed on this point. The Tribune wrote, “According to Buttgieg, witnesses said Teachman was notified of the fight either before or after using the restroom.”
TYT asked Pat Cottrell, who was allowed to read the report as president of the city’s Board of Public Safety, about Buttigieg’s claim. “That’s a lie,” Cottrell told TYT. “Plain and simple.”
The report noted other times when Teachman’s recollection was either fuzzy or challenged by witnesses. He could not recall what he did in the restroom or how long he was there. He said a young male first reported the fight, while other witnesses said it was the employee, a 66-year-old man.
The report says, “Teachman did not recall speaking to anyone prior to going outside to assist Lt. Newton. This statement does contradict what other witnesses stated.”
One passage gives specific details from witnesses about Teachman’s actions after learning that Newton needed help outside.
“Chief Teachman was asked if he recalled adjusting the floor mats near the front doors, introducing himself to two females, speaking with the females about their church, and then going back and adjusting the floor mats again as was stated by other witnesses.”
According to the report, “At first Chief Teachman stated, ‘Absolutely not,’ to these questions. He then said, ‘Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Floor mats?’ He then said, ‘Gosh, was it there that day.’ He now said he had a vague memory, but did not think it was there that day… Chief Teachman spent over a minute talking about his recollection of possibly adjusting floor mats.”
Other passages also conflict with Buttigieg’s claim that witnesses exonerated Teachman.
For instance, the report refers to a witness who “told Rev. [Greg] Brown that Chief Teachman… would not come outside to help.”
Brown, who made the initial complaint about Teachman, told the ISP he spoke with people inside the center after the incident. According to the report, Brown “said that they told him the chief did not come outside and stood at the door and messed with the floor mats.”
The ISP also interviewed the center’s supervisor, Maurice Scott. The report says, “Scott told Lt. Newton, ‘You know that your chief wasn’t coming out here to help you.’ Lt. Newton advised Mr. Scott that the chief was in the restroom and would have come out. Mr. Scott told him he wasn’t.”
Teachman himself told the ISP that an unknown individual told him he was needed outside and that “this person questioned why he was not outside helping.” In the report, Teachman says he believed the fight outside involved children and therefore he was not needed.
The report was seen by only the mayor’s office and the Board of Public Safety, members of which were prohibited by law from discussing its contents. (The leaked excerpt was provided anonymously to TYT. Its authenticity was confirmed by Cottrell and the Buttigieg campaign did not dispute it.)
Most of the five-member board voted against disciplining Teachman. Cottrell says that he and another member favored termination. A third, Cottrell claimed, agreed that Teachman erred and favored taking at least some steps, short of official discipline, in response. That board member declined to comment and TYT was unable to reach other board members from that time.
Buttigieg’s letter says that he and Teachman “agreed that he could use this as a teaching moment within the Department.” Teachman, Buttigieg says, offered to speak to the rank and file about how to “go above and beyond the requirements of the law and the duty manual.”
The Council president at the time, Derek Dieter, encouraged Newton to come forward, according to emails obtained by the South Bend Tribune. Buttigieg reportedly blamed Dieter for politicizing the situation.
The fact that Dieter was also serving as an SBPD corporal under Teachman drew criticisms of his conflict of interest. Newton confirmed to TYT that Dieter urged him to share his story with the Council, but denied that Dieter influenced his account of the incident.
Instead, Newton said he thinks Buttigieg should have done something about Teachman’s attempts to influence his account. The ISP report devotes significant attention to Teachman’s conduct — including interactions with Newton — after learning that the incident might be investigated.
Teachman, the report says, sent email from his personal account to Newton’s personal account discussing the incident. In one email, “the chief said that he thought another officer was dealing with the incident.” Newton responded that this was not true.Emails show then-Chief Ron Teachman using personal accounts to discuss specifics of the coming investigation into whether he failed to back up a fellow officer.
(Screengrab of emails provided by David Newton.)
Newton provided that email exchange to TYT and described it as an attempt to push an alternative narrative on him. Teachman, Newton said, “emailed me to get me to say, ‘Oh it wasn’t a big deal, other officers were going to handle it.’ When I told him it was me out there he figured I was either too dumb to get what he wanted or I just wouldn’t change my story.”
The report also reveals that Newton was questioned about the incident by an Internal Affairs lieutenant in the SBPD. At one point, Teachman enters the room while Newton and the lieutenant discuss the incident.
Referring to Newton, the report says, “When asked if he found it ironic that the chief would show up in the middle of his interview… he responded by saying, ‘I know bad acting when I see it.’ Lt. Newton was asked if he felt this was a form of intimidation by the chief and he stated ‘probably.’”
Newton told TYT that when the Internal Affairs lieutenant first asked him to discuss the incident, “I said is this formal or informal? And he said, ‘both.’”
As for Teachman appearing during the interview, Newton says, “It was a clear signal he was on top of the investigation and directing it.”
He said that when Teachman began to leave, the Internal Affairs lieutenant “is going, no, come on in and sit down. And I told them, ‘Really? Is that how we’re doing this?’
“And because I didn’t play ball, I got screwed. That’s a fact. And I wasn’t going to lie about what happened.” Newton claims he suffered retribution afterward, including demotion, before leaving for the county prosecutor’s office.
Teachman told the ISP that the Internal Affairs lieutenant, “without being asked… attempted to obtain recordings” from the Martin Luther KIng Center, Jr., Community Center where the incident occurred. Cottrell and a source inside South Bend government at the time both told TYT previously that they believe the center’s videotapes were tampered with.
Newton told TYT, “The video from the King Center was gone.”
Scott, the center’s supervisor, told TYT, “I’m pretty sure they came in and looked at the video, they pulled the video off there.” He said, “I really don’t know” what happened to the tapes, but that he did not consider the incident a big deal.
After Buttigieg decided not to release the report or discipline Teachman, Cottrell resigned from the Board of Public Safety in protest.
The following month, October 2013, Brown spoke at a meeting of the Common Council. According to the minutes, Brown said that he originally reported the incident to the council because, “I went to Mayor’s Night Out to talk to the mayor about the situation. The mayor had no answers and did not want to hear what I asked or had to say.”
Referring to public comments Buttigieg made after clearing Teachman, Newton told TYT, “The mayor said we’re making a mountain out of a molehill, but if I got killed out there then what?”
Despite South Bend’s small size, its rate of violent crime is high, and SBPD officers have been killed in the line of duty. Newton said, “I stood over two dead officers… The mayor at least owed it to me to say he [Teachman] screwed this up and apologize and say, ‘This is what we’re going to do.’”
The Teachman incident came at a time of lingering tensions between Buttigieg, the black community, and elements of the police force. The year before, Buttigieg demoted the city’s first black police chief, Darryl Boykins, amid an FBI investigation into secret tapes that allegedly captured officers using racial epithets. Boykins was not charged.
Buttigieg said at the time that he demoted Boykins because “If you make mistakes serious enough to bring on a federal investigation into your department, you cannot keep a leadership post in this administration.”