- The Washington Times - Friday, November 15, 2019

Roger Stone, President Trump’s longtime confidant was convicted Friday of lying to Congress and obstructing the Russia probe, a stunning fall from grace for the Republican operative.

The jury of nine women and three men found Stone, 67, guilty on all seven counts against him, including perjury, witness tampering and obstruction. 

He faces a maximum of 50 years on all the counts, but would likely receive far less as a first-time offender.

Stone is the latest Trump campaign figure to be convicted on charges brought as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. The case against him was brought by federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C. as an offshoot of the Mueller investigation.

Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is serving a federal sentence for tax and financial fraud. Longtime Trump fixer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in jail for campaign finance violations, tax evasion and other crimes, while former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Minutes after the verdict was announced, President Trump fired off an angry tweet accusing top Democrats of crimes.

SEE ALSO: Roger Stone has ‘turned to God,’ spiritual adviser Randy Lancaster-Short says

“So they now convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years to come. 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?,” Mr. Trump wrote.

Stone’s sentencing is set for February 6.

As the verdict was read in court, Stone stood still showing little emotion. His wife hugged family members.

The couple left the courthouse mere minutes after the verdict. Stone and his wife walked arm-in-arm, with the political strategist clutching a red Bible.

Neither Stone nor his attorneys were willing to comment on the verdict.

Prosecutors had that Stone be immediately taken into federal custody, but Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied their request.

“He’s been here for every court appearance,” she said. “I have no reason to believe he’s not going to be here for the next court appearance.”

She did leave in place a gag order barring Stone from discussing the case.

Stone was arrested in January in a predawn FBI raid.

Prosecutors said Stone lied to the House Intelligence Committee 2017 about his efforts to learn when WikiLeaks would release damaging emails hacked from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Stone told Congress five different lies about his efforts to connect with WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. All told, it called four witnesses, including former Trump campaign figures Steve Bannon and Rick Gates.

Mr. Bannon said the campaign viewed Stone as an “access point” to WikiLeaks, while Mr. Gates said he believed his campaign colleague had inside information about the emails.

Defense attorneys said the committee misled Stone, not the other way around. They said Congress lulled him into believing he would be discussing Russian election meddling, not WikiLeaks.

Bruce Rogow, one of Stone’s attorneys said his client had no motivation to lie because there was nothing wrong with trying to contact WikiLeaks.

Stone did not take the stand in his own defense, but jurors still heard from him. The defense rested after playing a 50-minute audio tape of Stone’s testimony before Congress.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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