Former advisor to Trump found guilty on all counts

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Roger Stone

In a recent turnout of events, Roger Stone a long term ally of the US President Donald Trump has been found guilty on various counts of witness tampering and lying to the Congress by the court. It has been established that he lied to the Congress regarding his endeavours of the Russian-hacked emails, adversely affecting the 2016 election bid of Hillary Clinton.

Stone, who has been the former advisor of Donald Trump was convicted on all seven counts, by way of an indictment which alleged of tampering witness, obstructing House investigation into the allegation of Russian coordinated Trump campaign and lying to the Congress in 2016. It also comes as a part of the charges brought by Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation into the probable involvement of Russia in the 2016 Trump campaign. He is the sixth aide of the Trump government who has been convicted of such charges.

Despite the pronouncement of conviction by the court, Stone has denied any wrongdoing. He has thoroughly alleged that the case which is being made against him is a sham and ‘politically motivated’. However, at the trial, Stone did not take a defence stand and his lawyers did not call a single witness to defend his case. Though the sentencing is yet to be pronounced, the sixty-seven-year-old, is apprehended to be sentenced to imprisonment up to twenty years.

The trial concluding in the conviction of Stone lasted for about a week. It highlighted how the associated involved in the Trump campaign were trying to access information about the emails, which the United States says was hacked Russia and then given to the anti-secrecy website, Wiki Leaks. The trial of Stone saw the testimony of Steve Bannon, who was the chief executive of the Trump campaign. He deposed before the court of how Stone boasted about having some reasonable connection with WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. He at various instances alerted them about a new batch of damaging emails, said Steve in his testimony. He also said that the officials involved in the campaign looked at Stone as the ‘access point’ to reach the information held by WikiLeaks.

On the allegation to have lied to the Congress, the prosecutors used the text messages and emails of Stone, which were in apparent contradiction to his congressional testimony. Using the contradictions, the case was laid that Stone had lied to the Congress and tried to threaten a witness. In the trial, Stone himself did not testify neither any witnesses were called before the court, in defence. Another testimony in the trial came from Rick Gates, who was a top former campaign official of Trump. He was also one of the key co-operators in the Muller probe. In his testimony, Rick said that Stone tried to establish contact with one Jared Kushner, who is the son in law of Trump to “debrief” him about the developments regarding the emails hacked.

The prosecution in the said case accused Stone of lying before the Congress concerning his conversation about WikiLeaks with Randy Credico, a radio host and comedian who interviewed Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks in 2016. During this time Julian himself was avoiding prosecution by taking shelter in the Ecuadoran embassy in London. During the Trump campaign in 2016, Stone had often mentioned in public appearances, speeches and interviews regarding his contact with Assange through a ‘trusted intermediary’ and in a manner indicated that he had some inside knowledge about the plan of WikiLeaks. However, even then as per the testimony of Credico, Stone pressed him to broker contact and ‘to work through his intermediary’. It has also been brought on record that in the earlier testimonies of Stone before the House Intelligence Committee, Stone named Credico as the intermediary between him and Assange and pressurised Credico not to contradict him, when asked.

In his testimony, Credico has revealed that after the Congress contacted him, he talked to Stone who advised him to ‘stonewall it and pleaded the fifth’. He also told the court that there were repeated instructions from Stone to “do a Frank Pentangeli” referring to a character in the second part of Godfather, who lies before the Congress. The prosecution has also alleged that Stone tried to threaten Credico’s therapy dog- Binaca, intimidating him to take that dog away from Credico.

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