Long-time Trump associate Roger Stone was indicted and arrested Friday morning on charges arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Stone was taken into custody in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the special counsel’s office said in a statement, making him the sixth Trump associate to be charged in connection with the probe. He was charged with once count of obstruction, five counts of making false statements, and one count of witness tampering.
Mueller’s team accused Stone of making “multiple false statements” to the House Intelligence Committee about his connection to WikiLeaks and his communications with the Trump campaign about it. During the 2016 campaign season, WikiLeaks released internal emails and documents stolen from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee by Russian operatives.
Stone is also accused of attempting to influence another Mueller witness, Randy Credico, who communicated with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the 2016 campaign season.
“They found no Russian collusion or they would have charged him with it,” said Stone’s attorney, Grant Smith. “Roger intends to fight these trumped up baseless charges that have nothing to do with the original intent of the special counsel’s investigation.”
Smith insisted that Stone did not have access to any of the stolen materials published by WikiLeaks ahead of their release, and said Stone’s false statements were not malicious but resulted from gaps in his memory.
“After the July 22, 2016 release of stolen DNC emails by Organization 1 [Wikileaks], a senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact STONE about any additional releases and what other damaging information Organization 1 had regarding the Clinton Campaign,” the indictment reads. “STONE thereafter told the Trump Campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by Organization 1.”
The “senior Trump campaign official” allegedly instructed to contact Stone is unidentified in the indictment, although it is reported to be former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
“The indictment today does not allege Russian collusion by Roger Stone or anyone else. Rather, the indictment focuses on alleged false statements Mr. Stone made to Congress,” Trump counsel Jay Sekulow said in a statement.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was also quick to distance the administration from the charges, saying, “This has nothing to do with the president, and certainly nothing to do with the White House.”
President Trump reacted to the news in a tweet, saying “Border Coyotes, Drug Dealers and Human Traffickers are treated better.”
“Who alerted CNN to be there?” the president added, referring to CNN’s exclusive footage of Stone’s arrest.
Stone appeared in federal court in Fort Lauderdale before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow on Friday and was released on $250,000 signature bond. He is expected to be arraigned next week in Washington, D.C., at which point his lawyer has indicated he will plead not guilty.