Ten months after his arrest by a swarm of FBI agents, former Trump adviser and self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” Roger Stone was found guilty of all seven felony counts against him, including obstruction of Congress, five counts of false testimony to Congress, and witness tampering. The conviction is the eighth guilty sentence or plea resulting from grand jury indictments spawned by the investigations into Russian election interference by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
At the center of the case was Stone’s quest in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election to obtain the emails from WikiLeaks stolen by Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) operatives from the Democratic National Committee and people within Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign organization. Stone frequently bragged about his connections with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, and Stone communicated with the Trump campaign about WikiLeaks’ plans to release those emails “every chance he got,” said lead federal prosecutor Jonathan Kravis.
Stone was found to have concealed the nature of his communications with WikiLeaks and to have lied to Congress about who acted on his behalf in those contacts. And he attempted to dissuade one of those intermediaries, radio personality Randy Credico, from contradicting his false testimony to Congress, making Godfather II references in his messages to Credico—threatening to take away his therapy dog and to order his lawyers to “rip you to shreds.” At one point, Stone allegedly even texted Credico, “Prepare to die [expletive].”
Stone communicated these threats and other details over WhatsApp, which he used as a “secure” phone line and for messaging. Because of his weak understanding of WhatsApp, he believed that using the messaging platform would protect his communications from the eyes of investigators. It didn’t, as those who received the messages showed them to investigators. Stone also communicated about his activities heavily through emails, which investigators obtained. Stone then lied to Congress about said activities.
During the trial, deputy chairman of the Trump campaign, Rick Gates, testified regarding a July 2016 phone call between Stone and Trump on the heels of WikiLeaks’ release of emails from Clinton campaign officials. Gates said that as soon as he completed the call with Stone, Trump announced that “more information” would be coming—a reference to future WikiLeaks releases. (Trump’s written response to questions from the Mueller campaign declared that Trump had no memory of specifics of the 21 phone conversations he had with Stone during the campaign.) Stone had said he never talked about his conversations with his WikiLeaks intermediaries with anyone connected to the Trump campaign.
After his indictment, Stone was banned by Judge Amy Berman Jackson from using social media after he posted a photo of Judge Jackson in crosshairs on his Instagram account. Stone had been banned from Twitter after inflammatory posts in 2017. Stone violated Judge Jackson’s order 11 times since February.