Jerome Corsi, a conspiracy theorist caught up in the government’s investigation into the 2016 elections, provided an explanation Tuesday for erasing emails pertinent to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe: his laptop computer was running low on storage space.
The former Infowars bureau chief and proponent of the baseless “birther” theory made the claim during a television interview in response to a question about his contacts during the 2016 race with former members of President Trump’s election campaign, Roger Stone and Ted Malloch.
“In Mueller’s draft indictment, which you shared with the world, interestingly, it says between January and March 2017, you deleted all your emails from before October 2016,” MSNBC host Ari Melber asked Mr. Corsi. “Why?”
“Because I had a 17-inch laptop that was dying and it needed new space,” Mr. Corsi responded. “I was trying to keep an old computer running because I liked that 17-inch. And to do so, I had to erase emails. It was not a plan to erase evidence.”
Leaked in November, the draft indictment and a proposed plea agreement suggest the special counsel’s office asked Mr. Corsi to cop to committing a single count of perjury for allegedly lying to federal investigators. Mr. Corsi said he refused the offer, and the special counsel’s office has repeatedly denied requests for comment as recently as Wednesday morning.
Discussing his participation in Mr. Mueller’s probe on MSNBC, Mr. Corsi said he met the special counsel’s team for a total of 40 hours over six sessions spanning two months in 2018.
“I went in and offered all of my computers, my backup devices, my cellphone, my email accounts. I proffered all of that because I believe, and I still believe, I did nothing wrong,” he told Mr. Melber.
Prosecutors said Mr. Corsi previously deleted relevant emails, however, according to the draft plea agreement, including specifically a message he said he received from Mr. Stone and subsequently forwarded to Mr. Malloch about Julian Assange, the founder of the WikiLeaks website that leaked stolen Democratic Party documents during the 2016 race.
“The special counselor’s believed I could establish contact between Roger Stone and Julian Assange,” Mr. Corsi said Tuesday. “I don’t have a contact with Julian Assange. I’ve never spoken to him. I never communicated directly or indirectly with anyone at WikiLeaks or Julian Assange.”
Russian hackers sourced the Democratic material released by WikiLeaks during the race, according to U.S. officials, and Mr. Mueller’s office is investigating matters including whether anyone connected to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign conspired in their publication.
An unidentified individual associated with the Trump campaign emailed Mr. Corsi in July 2016 instructing him to “get to” Mr. Assange in London and obtain early access to Democratic emails WikiLeaks planned to publish, according to the leaked court filings. Mr. Corsi has identified the person as Mr. Stone, Mr. Trump’s former campaign adviser, and said that he subsequently forwarded that message to Mr. Malloch, another former Trump adviser, prior to deleting those emails and others in early 2017.
“There is no evidence that I participated in or have any knowledge of any collusion with the Russians to effect the 2016 elections,” Mr. Stone said previously.
A London-based author and political consultant, Mr. Malloch previously said that he was detained by FBI agents upon arriving in the U.S. on an international flight in March 2018 and questioned about topics including the Trump campaign, Mr. Stone, Mr. Corsi and WikiLeaks.
“I am not an operative, have no Russia contacts, and — aside from appearing on air and in print often to defend and congratulate our president — have done nothing wrong,” Mr. Malloch said at the time.