Trump Ally Roger Stone Charged With Obstruction in Special Counsel Probe

Longtime Donald Trump associate Roger Stone has been indicted by a grand jury on charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Stone was arrested by the FBI Friday morning at his home in Florida, his lawyer told CNN.

Stone was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia on seven counts, including one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering.

He will make an appearance later Friday at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, according to Peter Carr, a spokesman for the Special Counsel’s office.

A self-described political showman and dirty trickster whose career dates to the Nixon administration, Stone was a Trump campaign aide until his abrupt departure in August 2015, but he remained an informal adviser, Bloomberg writes.

Stone has given varying accounts about whether he had advance knowledge that WikiLeaks would post a cache of private emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee, some of which embarrassed Democratic leaders and led to the resignation of the party chairwoman in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Even so, he has acknowledged exchanging private Twitter messages with an account claiming to be Guccifer 2.0, a hacker persona linked to the Russian government. A U.S. indictment of 12 Russian hackers thought to be responsible for the DNC email theft referred to an unnamed American close to senior members of the Trump campaign who was in contact with the hackers. Stone told CNN just after the July indictment that he was “probably” that person.

Before the emails were made public in October of 2016, Stone gave a speech and posted a series of tweets that seemed to foreshadow their disclosure and acknowledge that he served as a “backchannel to Assange,” referring to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Since then he has denied any prior knowledge of the stolen emails. U.S. prosecutors and intelligence agencies say that hackers commissioned by the Russian government were responsible for the theft, Bloomberg notes.

CNBC, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, reported on May 3 that the Special Counsel was focusing on interactions between Stone and Trump’s deputy campaign chairman, Rick Gates, who pleaded guilty in February to two counts stemming from the Russia probe and is cooperating with Mueller.

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