- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 22, 2021

Roger J. Stone Jr., former President Donald Trump‘s longtime friend, denied Wednesday that he evaded nearly $2 million in owed taxes and insisted he “simply ran out of money” to give the government.

Mr. Stone acknowledged he and his wife “owe a significant amount in federal taxes,” but he disputed the hefty sum the government sued them over and said that he was unable to afford to pay it anyway.

“You can’t get blood out of a Stone,” the 68-year-old Republican operative and former Trump presidential election campaign adviser said in a fundraising email soliciting donations from his supporters.

The U.S. Department of Justice sued the Stones last week over more than $1.9 million in unpaid federal income taxes, penalties and interest the couple allegedly owes to the Internal Revenue Service.

Filed in federal court, the civil suit accuses the Stones of having used a commercial entity, Drake Ventures, “to shield their personal income from enforced collection and fund a lavish lifestyle.”

Mr. Stone disputed those claims in his pitch for donations. In the email, he denied evading taxes and said he was paying the IRS until the Justice Department last went after him years earlier.

The investigation led by former special counsel Robert Mueller of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections led to Mr. Stone being unable to keep paying the back taxes, he said in the email.

“We had worked diligently with the IRS to pay down our tax debt until we were financially destroyed by the politically motivated and corrupt Mueller investigation,” Mr. Stone said.

“The claim that my wife and I funneled money anywhere to live a lavish lifestyle is preposterous and will be exposed at trial as patently ridiculous,” he asserted in the email.

Mr. Stone was charged as a result of the Mueller probe in January 2019 with seven counts of witness tampering, obstruction and perjury, and a jury convicted him across the board that November.

However, Mr. Trump granted a commutation to Mr. Stone, sparing him from serving a 40-month prison sentence. He later granted him a presidential pardon in the final days of his administration, as well.

Mr. Stone said in the email that his attorneys subsequently tried to resolve his tax issue with the IRS but that negotiations stopped as soon as Mr. Trump was succeeded by President Biden, a Democrat.

“This lawsuit is politically motivated harassment fueled by the partisan prosecutor’s fury and liberal hysteria over the fact that, by the grace of God, President Trump saw the clear corruption of my trial and had the strength and the courage to correct this injustice by issuing me a grant of clemency and a full and unconditional pardon,” Mr. Stone said. “It has made the haters wild.”

A message requesting comment from the Justice Department was not immediately returned. No lawyer representing Mr. Stone had responded in court to the civil lawsuit as of Thursday afternoon.

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