A federal jury has convicted longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone of lying to Congress and tampering with a witness about his efforts to learn about the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks release of hacked Democratic emails in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The panel of nine women and three men deliberated for less than two days before finding Stone, 67, guilty on all seven counts resulting from his September 2017 testimony to a House intelligence committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Kremlin’s efforts to damage Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Stone, in a blue suit, stood at the defense table with his left hand in his pants pocket, watching impassively as verdicts were read.
Stone had argued that he was not intentionally dishonest and that the cases was politically motivated. But jurors sided with prosecutors who said Stone obstructed the House efforts because the truth would be embarrassing to Donald Trump’s campaign. Stone’s indictment was the last brought by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, putting on trial his slippery brand of political brawling and revealing important new details about the Trump campaign’s keen interest in computer files hacked by Russia and made public by WikiLeaks.
He was accused of lying to Congress and tampering with a witness, an associate prosecutors said Stone threatened in a bid to prevent the man from cooperating with lawmakers.Though prosecutors sought to prove only that Stone had lied to Congress, they asserted that his motive for the falsehoods was protecting Trump from embarrassment — and thus made the president and his campaign a key component in their case.
Stone’s trial reenergized discussions of Russian interference in the 2016 election and occurred alongside public hearings in Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into whether the president tried to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate a potential 2020 opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. In arguments and testimony over the past two weeks, prosecutors revealed a series of phone calls at critical times in 2016 between Stone, Trump and some of the highest-ranking officials on the Trump campaign — Stephen K. Bannon, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.
Meanwhile, there’s this — payback is hell, Roger, payback is hell !!