ROGER STONE “TRUMP ALLY” REJECTS RUSSIA PROBE CHARGES
Political strategist Roger Stone, a long-time ally of President Trump, has been arrested in Florida, charged with seven counts in the Mueller probe.
Mr Stone appeared in court in the city of Fort Lauderdale.
CNN reports that FBI agents arrested Mr Stone in a pre-dawn raid on Friday. One pounded on the door and said, “FBI, open the door,” the US cable network says.
After news of his old friend’s arrest, President Donald Trump slammed the Russia investigation once again on Twitter, calling it the “Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country!”
The special counsel has accused Mr Stone of attempting to obstruct the investigation into Russian meddling by:
- Lying to the House Intelligence Committee about what transpired between him and Wikileaks
- Lying to the committee about records of his interactions with Wikileaks
- Witness tampering, for trying to keep his Wikileaks intermediary from telling the truth to Congress
The indictment does not say Mr Stone committed any criminal activity during the election.
He was released on a $250,000 (£189,000) bond, but with restrictions allowing him to travel only for court appearances in Florida, Washington DC and New York.
After his court appearance, Mr Stone spoke on the phone to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on his radio programme Infowars.
“I intend to fight for my life,” Mr Stone said as he launched a fundraiser for his legal battle. “There’s no circumstance under which I would plead guilty to these charges.
“There’s no circumstance under which I would bear false witness to the president.”
He added: “Once again, there is no evidence of Russian collusion, Wikileaks collaboration and I’m not charged with doing anything inappropriate or illegal to assist in his [Mr Trump’s] election.”
Mr Stone then emerged from court grinning broadly while flashing a Nixonian double V-sign and wearing a blue Ralph Lauren polo shirt.
Mr Stone said he would formally plead not guilty to the charges in a Washington DC court next week.
He declared himself the target of “a politically motivated investigation” and criticised the manner of his arrest.